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1. 10.  l^ 


EXPOSITION   \^/''^^om2 


Old  and  New  Testament: 


EACH  CHAPTER  IS  SUMMED  UP  IN  ITS  CONTEhl  S ;  THE  SACRED  TEXT  INSERTED 

AT  LARGE,  IN  DISTINCT  PARAGRAPHS ;  EACH  PARAGRAPH  REDUCED 

TO  ITS  PROPER  HEADS ;  THE  SENSE  GIVEN, 

AND  LARGELY  ILLUSTRATED; 


PRACTICAL    REMARKS   AND  OBSERVATIONS: 


BY  MATTHEW  HENRY,    i 


EDITED  BY 

THE  REV.  GEORGE  BURDER,  AND  THE  REV.  JOSEPH  HUGHES,  A    M 

WITH  THE 

LIFE     OF    THE     AUTHOR, 

BY  THE 
REV,   SAMUEL    PALMER. 

JFitst   American   ISditton: 

TO  WHICH  IS  PREFIXED, 

A   PREFACE, 

BY    ARCHIBALD   ALEXANDER,  D.  D. 

rnOFESSOR    of    theology    in    THE    SEMINARY    AT    FRINOKTON,   H.   3. 


VOL.  III. 


PHILADELPHIA : 
ED.   HARRINGTON   &   GEO.   D.   HASWELL, 

MARKET    STREET 


AK 


EXPOSITION, 


WITH 


PRACTICAL,    OBSERVATIONS 


UPON  THE 


POETICAL  BOOKS 


OF  THE 


OLD     TESTAMENT, 


NAMELY^ 


JOB, 

PSALMS, 

PROVERBS, 


ECCLESIASTES, 

AlTD 

SOLOMON'S  SONG. 


,  '\ 


THE 


PREFACE 


TO  THK 


POETICAL  BOOKS. 


These  five  books  of  scripture,  which  I  have  here  endeavoured,  according  to  the  measure  of  the  gift 
given  to  me,  to  explain  and  improve,  for  the  use  of  those  who  desire  to  read  them,  not  only  with  under- 
standing, but  to  their  edification — though  they  have  the  same  divine  origin,  design,  and  authority,  as 
those  that  went  before,  yet,  upon  some  accounts,  are  of  a  very  different  nature  from  them,  and  froni  the 
rest  of  the  sacred  writings:  such  variety  of  methods  has  Infinite  Wisdom  seen  fit  to  take,  in  conveying  the 
light  of  divine  revelation  to  the  children  of  men,  that  this  heavenly  food  might  have  (as  the  Jews  sa\  of 
the  manna)  something  in  it  agreeable  to  ever)'  palate,  and  suited  to  every  constitution.  If  every  eye  be 
not  thus  oj)ened,  every  mouth  will  be  stopped,  and  such  as  perish  in  their  ignorance  will  be  left  without 
excuse.  IVe  have  fiified  unto  you,  and  ye  have  not  danced:  ivehave  mourned  unto  you,  and  ye  have  hot 
lamented,  MaXth.  xi.  17. 

1.  The  books  of  scripture  have  hitherto  been,  for  the  most  part,  very  plain  and  easy  narratives  of  mat- 
ter of  fact,  which  he  that  runs  may  read  and  understand,  and  which  are  milk  for  babes,  such  as  they  can 
receive  and  digest,  and  both  entertain  and  nourish  themselves  with.  The  waters  of  the  sanctuary  have 
liitherto  been  but  to  the  ankles  or  to  the  knees,  such  as  a  lamb  might  wade  in,  to  drink  of  and  wash 
in;  but  here  we  are  advanced  to  a  higher  form  in  God's  school,  and  have  books  put  into  our  hands,  where- 
in are  many  things  dark,  and  hard  to  be  understood,  which  we  do  not  apprehend  the  meaning  of  so  sud- 
tlenly  and  so  certainly  as  we  could  wish;  the  study  whereof  requires  a  more  close  application  of  mind,  a 
greater  intenseness  of  thought,  and  the  accomplishing  of  a  diligent  search,  which  yet  the  treasure  hid  in 
them,  when  it  is  found,  will  abundantly  recompense.  The  waters  of  the  sanctuary  are  here  to  the  loins, 
and  still,  as  we  go  forward,  we  shall  find  the  waters  still  risen  in  the  prophetical  books,  waters  to  snvim 
in,  (Ezek.  xlvii.  3««5.)  not  fordable,  nor  otherwise  to  be  passed  over;  depths  in  which  an  elephant  will 
not  find  footing;  strong  meat  for  strong  meji.  The  same  method  is  observable  in  the  New  Testament, 
where  we  find  the  plain  history  of  Christ  and  his  gospel  placed  first  in  the  Evangelists,  and  the  Acts  of 
the  Apostles;  then  the  mystery  of  both  in  the  Epistles,  which  are  more  difficult  to  be  understood;  and, 
lastly,  the  prophecies  of  things  to  come,  in  the  Apocalyptic  visions. 

This  method,  so  exactly  observed  in  both  the  Testaments,  directs  us  in  what  order  to  proceed,  both  in 
studying  the  things  of  God  ourselves,  and  in  teaching  them  to  others;  we  must  go  in  the  order  that  the 
scripture  does;  and  where  can  we  expect  to  find  a  better  method  of  divinity,  and  a  better  method  of 
preaching.^ 

1.  We  must  begin  with  those  things  that  are  most  plain  and  easy,  as,  blessed  be  God,  those  things  are 
wliich  are  most  necessary  to  salvation,  and  of  the  greatest  use.  We  must  lay  our  foundation  firm,  in  a 
sound  experimental  knowledge  of  the  principles  of  religion,  and  then  the  superstructure  will  be  well- 
reared,  and  stand  firm.  It  is  not  safe  to  launch  out  into  the  deep  at  first,  or  to  venture  into  points  difficult 
and  controverted,  until  we  have  first  thoroughly  digested  the  elements  of  the  oracles  of  God,  and  turned 
them  insuccum  et  sanguinem— juice  and  blood.  Those  that  begin  their  Bible  at  the  wrong  end,  cnmmonlv 
use  their  knowledge  of  it  in  the  wrong  way. 

And,  in  training  up  others,  we  must  be  sure  to  ground  them  well  at  first  in  those  truths  of  God  which 
are  plain,  and  in  some  measure  level  to  their  capacity,  which  we  find  they  take  and  relish,  and  know 
how  to  make  use  of,  and  not  amuse  those  that  are  weak  with  things  above  them,  things  of  doul^tful  dis- 
putation, which  they  cannot  apprehend  any  certainty  of,  or  advantage  by.  Our  Lord  Jesus  spake  the 
word  to  the  people  as  they  were  able  to  hear  it,  (Mark  iv.  33.)  and  had  many  things  to  say  to  his  disci- 
ples which  he  did  not  say,  because  as  yet  they  could  not  bear  them,  John  xvi.  12,  13.  And  those  whom 
St.  Paul  could  not  sfieak  to  as  unto  spiritual — though  he  blamed  them  for  their  backwardness,  yet  he  ac- 
commodated himself  to  their  weakness,  and  spake  to  them  as  unto  babes  in  Christ,  1  Cor.  iii.  1,  2. 

2.  Yet  we  must  not  rest  in  these  things;  we  must  not  be  always  children,  that  have  need  of  milk,  but, 
nourished  up  witli  that,  and  gaining  strength,  we  must  go  on  to  perfection,  (Heb.  vi.  1.)  that,  having,  by 
reason  of  use,  our  spiritual  senses  exercised,  we  may  come  to  full  age,  and  put  away  childish  things,  and, 
forgetting  the  things  which  are  behind,  (Heb.  v.  14.)  that  is,  so  well  remembering  them,  (Phil.  iii.  13.^ 
that  we  need  not  be  still  poring  over  them,  as  those  that  are  ever  learning  the  same  lesson,  we  may  reach 


v^i  PREFACE. 

t  .!th  to  the  things  which  are  before.  Though  we  must  never  think  to  learn  abo\'e  our  B".l)]e,  as  long  as 
we  are  here  in  this  world,  yet  we  must  still  be  getting  forward  in  it.  Ye  have  divelt  long  enough  in  lliia 
mountain;  now  turn  you,  and  take  your  journey  onward  in  the  wilderness  toward  Canaan:  our  motto  must 
be  Plus  ultra — Onward.  And  then  shall  we  know,  if  thus,  by  regular  steps,  (Hos.  vi.  3.)  we  folloiv  on 
to  know  the  Lord,  and  what  the  mind  of  the  Lord  is. 

II.  The  books  of  scripture  ha\  e  hitherto  been  mostly  historical,  but  now  the  matter  is  of  another  na- 
ture; it  is  doctrinal  and  devotional,  preaching  and  praying.  In  this  way  of  writing,  as  well  as  in  the  forme: , 
a  great  deal  of  excellent  knowledge  is  conveyed,  which  ser\  es  very  valuable  pui-poses.  It  will  be  of  gor.d 
use  to  know,  not  only  what  others  did  that  went  before  us,  arxl  how  they  fared,  but  what  their  notions 
and  sentiments  were,  what  their  thoughts  and  affections  were,  that  we  may,  with  the  help  of  them,  form 
our  minds  ariijht. 

Plutarch's  Morals  are  reputed  as  useful  a  treasure  in  the  commonwealth  of  learning  as  Plutarcli's  Lives; 
and  the  wise  disquisitions  and  discourses  of  the  philosophers,  as  the  records  of  the  historians;  nor  is  this 
divine  philosophy,  (if  I  may  so  call  it,)  which  we  have  in  these  books,  less  needful,  or  less  serviceable, 
to  the  church,  than  the  sacred  history  was.     Blessed  be  God  for  both. 

III.  The  Jews  make  these  books  to  be  given  by  a  divine  inspiration  somewhat  different  from  that  both 
of  Moses  and  the  prophets.  The)*,  divided  the  books  of  the  Old  Testament  into  the  Law,  the  Prophets, 
and  the  '3^no — the  H-nVm^s,  which  Epiphanius  emphatically  translates  r(3«<j)«7=c — Things  written,  and 
these  books  are  more  commonly  called  among  the  Greeks  'Ayioyfia.<pi — Holy  Writings:  the  Jews  attribute 
them  to  that  distinct  kind  of  inspiration  which  they  call  a^-ipnnn — T'/ie  Holy  S/iirit.  Moses  they  supposed 
to  write  by  the  Spirit,  in  a  way  abo\  e  all  the  other  prophets,  for  with  him  God  spake  mouth  to  mouth, 
even  apfiarently ;  knew  him,  (Numb.  xii.  8.)  that  is,  conversed  with  him  face  toj'ace,  Deut.  xxxiv.  10. 
He  was  made  partaker  of  divine  revelation,  (as  Muimonides  distinguishes,  De  hund,  Legis,  c.  7.)  per 
vigiliam — while  awake,*  whereas  God 'manifested  himself  to  all  the  other  prophets  in  a  di'eam  or  vision: 
and  he  adds,  th  it  Moses  understood  the  words  of  prophecy  without  any  perturbation  or  astonishment  of 
mind,  whereas  the  other  prophets  commonly  fainted  and  were  troubled.  But  the  writers  of  the  Hagio- 
grapha  they  suppose  to  be  inspired  in  a  degree  somewhat  below  that  of  the  other  prophets,  and  to 
receive  divine  revelation,  not  as  they  did,  by  dreams,  and  visions,  and  voices,  but  (as  Maimonides  de- 
scribes it.  More  JVevochim — fiart  2.  ch.  45.)  they  perceived  some  power  to  rise  within  them,  and  rest 
upon  them,  which  urged  and  enabled  them  to  write  or  speak  far  above  their  own  natural  ability,  in  psalms 
or  hvmns,  or  in  history,  or  in  rules  of  good  living,  still  enjoying  the  ordinary  vigour  and  use  of  their  senses. 
liCt  David  himself  describe  it.  The  Sfiirit  of  the  Lord  sfiake  by  me,  and  his  word  was  in  my  tongue:  the 
God  of  Israel  said,  the  Rock  of  Israel  spake  to  me,  2  Sam.  xxiii.  2,  3.  This  gives  such  a  magnificent  ac- 
cnmt  of  the  inspiration  by  which  David  wrote,  that  I  see  not  why  it  should  be  made  inferior  to  that  of  the 
other  prophets,  for  David  is  expressly  called  a  firo/ihet.  Acts  ii.  30. 

B  it,  since  our  hand  is  in  with  the  Jewish  masters,  let  us  see  what  books  they  account  Hagiography. 
These  five  that  are  now  before  us  come,  without  dispute,  into  this  rank  of  sacred  writers,  and  the  book  of 
t'le  Laii\entations  is  not  unfitly  added  to  them.  Indeed,  the  Jews,  when  they  would  speak  critically, 
reckon  all  those  songs  which  we  meet  with  in  the  Old  Testament  among  the  Hagiographa;  for,  though 
tliey  were  penned  by  prophets,  and  under  the  direction  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  yet,  because  they  were  not 
the  p'oper  result  of  a.visu?n  firopheticum — prophetic  vision,  they  were  not  strictly  prophecy.  As  to  the 
Historical  Books,  they  distinguish;  (but  I  think  it  is  a  distinction  without  a  difference;)  some  of  them  they 
assign  to  the  prophets,  calling  them  t\\t  profihe'x  priores — the  former  firophets,  namely,  Joshua,  Judges, 
and  the  two  books  of  the  Kings;  but  others  they  rank  among  the  Hagiographa,  as,  the  book  of  Ruth, 
(which  yet  is  but  an  appendix  to  the  book  of  Judges,)  the  two  books  of  Chronicles,  with  Ezra,  Nehemiah, 
and  the  book  of  Esther,  which  last  the  Rabbins  have  a  great  value  for,  and  think  it  is  to  be  had  in  equal 
esteem  with  the  law  of  Moses  itself,  that  it  shall  last  as  long  as  it  lasts,  and  shall  survive  the  writings  of 
the  prophets.  And,  lastly,  they  reckon  the  book  of  Daniel  among  the  Hagiographa,!  for  which  no  reason 
can  be  given,  since  he  was  not  inferior  to  any  of  the  prophets  in  the  gift  of  prophecy:  and,  therefore,  the 
learned  Mr.  Smith  thinks  that  their  placing  him  among  the  Hagiographical  writers  was  fortuitous,  and  by 
mistake.  :|:  » 

Mr.  Smith,  in  his  Discourse,  before  quoted,  though  he  supposes  this  kind  of  divine  inspiration  to  be 
more  "  fiacatc  and  serene  than  that  which  was  strictly  called  prophecy,  not  acting  so  much  upon  the  imagi- 
nation, but  seating  itself  in  the  higher  and  purer  faculties  of  the  soul,  yet  shows  that  it  manifested  itself 
t  )  be  of  a  divine  nature,  not  only  as  it  always  acted  pious  snuls  into  strains  of  devotion,  or  moved  tlieni 
strangely  to  dictate  matters  of  true  piety  and  goodness,  but  as  it  came  in  abruptly  upon  the  minds  of  thosv! 
holy  men,  and  transported  them  from  the  temper  of  mind  they  were  in  before;  so  that  they  perceived 
themselves  captivated  by  the  power  of  some  higher  light  than  that  which  their  own  understanding  com- 
monly poured  out  upon  them;  and  this,  says  he,  was  a  kind  of  vital  form  to  that  light  of  divine  and  sanc- 
tified re  I  son  which  they  were  perpetually  possessed  of,  and  that  constant  frame  of  holiness  and  goodness 
which  dwelt  in  their  hallowed  minds."  We  have  reason  to  glorify  that  God  of  Israel  who  gave  such 
ftovjrr  unto  mm,  and  has  here  transmitted  to  us  the  blessed  products  of  that  power. 

IV.  The  stvle  and  composition  of  tliese  books  are  different  from  those  that  go  befoi-e  and  those  thut 
fallow.  Ovu-  Sa\  iour  divides  the  books  of  the  Old  Testament  into  the  Law,  the  Prophets,  and  the  Ps.dms, 
(Luke  xxiv.  44.)  and  thereby  teaches  us  to  distinguish  those  books  that  are  poetical,  or  metrical,  from 
t  \e  L  iw  and  the  Prophets;  and  such  are  all  these  that  are  now  before  us,  except  Ecclesiastes,  which  yet, 
having  something  restrained  in  its  style,  may  well  enough  be  reckoned  among  them.  They  are  books 
in  verse,  according  to  the  ancient  rules  of  versifying,  though  not  according  to  the  Greek  and  Latin 
prosodies. 

S'^mc  of  the  ancients  call  these  five  books  the  second  Pentateuch  of  the  Old  Testament,^  five  snrred 
volumes,  which  arc  as  the  satellites  to  the  five  books  of  the  law  of  Moses.  Gregory  .Yar.iunzen,  [carm. 
33.  /;.  98.1])  r,\lls  these  <t\  <rtx'^p^i  Trivn — the  five  metrical  books;  first,  Jolj,  (so  he  reckons  t'leni  up,)  then 
David,  then  the  three  of  Solomon,  Ecclcsiistes,  tlie  Song,  and  Proverbs,  jlmfihilochius,  Bishcp  nt  Ico 
nium,  in  his  Iambic  Poem  to  Srleiicus,  reckons  them  up  particularly,  and  calls  them  r/;:^"/'"^  tts'vts  Bi0\;i(~ 

*  See  Mr  Smith's  Uisciiurse  on  I'ruplii-ty,  rA.  II  t  Ilil.  Mcgil   c   -2   ^11.  t  Vii!    Ilnttincpr.  Tlirsnur.  I'liilnl.  lib  0   r.ip.  1.  ^3 

^Damasceii.  Grlhod.  Fid.  I.  4.  tap.  18.  (I  Viil.  Siiicer.  Tliesaur.  in  O'X'^h 


PREFACE.  '  vii 

the  Jive  verse-books.  Efiifihanius,  (lib.  de  fionder.  et  mensur.  fi.  533.  J  Triyrt  riy^pii: — (he  ^ve  verse- 
books.  And  CyrU.  Hierosol.  Collect.  A.  p.  Cmihi — m  Tnj/ cq/zy  J  30.  calls  these  five  books  ra  s-i;t«/ia — books 
in  verse.  Polychronius,  in  his  prologue  to  Job,  says,  that,  as  those  that  are  without,  call  their  tragedies 
and  comedies  noi>\Tix.a. — Poetics,  so,  in  sacred  writ,  those  books  which  are  composed  in  Hebrew  metre, 
(of  which  he  reckons  Job  the  first,)  we  call  Ti^iipa  ht0xid — Hooks  in  verse,  written  koto,  g-i^ov — according 
to  order.  What  is  written  in  metre,  or  rhythm,  is  so  called  from  /utTpo; — a  measure,  and  o.pifijuo( — a  nu?n- 
her,  because  regulated  by  certain  measures,  or  numbers  of  syllables,  which  please  the  ear  with  their 
smoothness  and  cadency,  and  so  insinuate  the  matter  the  more  movingly  and  powerfully  into  the  fancy. 

Sir  William  Temple,*  in  his  essay  upon  poetry,  thinks  it  is  generally  agreed  to  have  been  the  first  sort 
of  writing  that  was  used  in  the  world;  nay,  that,  in  several  nations,  poetical  compositions  preceded  the 
very  invention  or  usage  of  letters.  The  Spaniards  (he  says)  found  in  America  many  strains  of  poetry, 
and  such  as  seemed  to  flow  from  a  true  poetic  vein,  before  any  letters  were  known  in  those  regions.  The 
same  (says  he)  is  probable  of  the  Scythians  and  Grecians:  the  oracles  of  Apollo  were  delivered  in  verse; 
so  were  those  of  the  Sibyls.  And  Tacitus  says,  that  the  ancient  Germans  had  no  annals  or  records  but 
what  were  in  verse.  Homer  and  Hesiod  wrote  their  poems  (the  very  Alcoran  of  the  Pagan  Dsmonology) 
many  ages  before  the  appearing  of  any  of  the  Greek  philosophers  or  historians;  and,  long  before  them, 
(if  we  may  give  credit  to  the  antiquities  of  Greece,)  even  before  the  days  of  David,  Orpheus  and  Linus 
were  celebrated  poets  and  musicians  in  Greece;  and,  at  the  same  time,  Carmenta,  the  mother  of  Evander, 
who  was  the  first  that  introduced  letters  among  the  natives  of  Greece,  was  so  called  a  carmine^'rom  a 
song,  because  she  delivered  herself  in  verse.  And  in  such  veneration  was  this  way  of  writing  among  the 
ancients,  that  their  poets  were  called  Vates — Prophets,  and  their  muses  were  deified. 

But,  which  is  more  certain  and  considerable,  the  most  ancient  composition  that  we  meet  with  in  scrip- 
ture was  the  song  of  Moses  at  the  Red  Sea,  (Exod.  xv. )  which  we  find  before  the  very  first  mention  of 
writing,  for  that  occurs  not  until  Exod.  xvii.  14.  when  God  bade  Moses  write  a  memorial  of  the  war  with 
Amalek.  The  first,  and  indeed  the  true  and  general  end  of  writing,  is,  the  help  of  memory;  and  poetry 
does  in  some  measure  answer  that  end,  and  even  in  the  want  of  writing,  much  more  with  writing,  helps 
to  preserve  the  remembrance  of  ancient  things.  The  book  of  the  wars  of  the  Lord,  (Numb.  xxi.  14.) 
and  the  book  of  Jasher,  (Josh.  x.  13.  2  Sam.  i.  18.)  seem  to  have  been  both  written  in  poetic  measures. 

Many  sacred  songs  we  meet  with  in  the  Old  Testament,  scattered  both  in  the  historical  and  proplietical 
books,  penned  on  particular  occasions,  which,  in  tli^  opinion  of  very  competent  judges,  "have  in  them  as 
true  and  noble  strains  of  poetry  and  picture  as  are  met  with  -in  any  other  language  whatsoever,  in  spite 
of  all  the  disadvantages  from  translations  into  so  different  tongues  and  common  prose;f  nay,  are  nobler 
examples  of  the  true  sublime  style  of  poetry  than  any  that  can  be  found  in  the  Pagan  writers;  the  images 
are  so  strong,  the  thoughts  so  great,  the  expressions  so  divine,  and  the  figures  so  admirably  bold  and 
moving,  that  the  wonderful  manner  of  these  writers  is  quite  inimitable.":}:  It  is  fit  that  what  is  emploved 
in  the  service  of  the  sanctuary  should  be  the  best  in  its  kind. 

The  books  here  put  together  are  poetical.  Job  is  an  heroic  poem;  the  book  of  Psalms,  a  collection  of 
divine  odes  or  lyrics;  Solomon's  Song,  a  pastoral  and  an  epithalamium:  they  are  poetical,  and  yet  sacred 
and  serious,  grave  and  full  of  majesty.  They  have  a  poetic  force  and  flame,  without  poetic  fuiy  and 
fiction,  and  strangely  command  and  move  the  affections,  without  corrupting  the  imagination,  or  putting 
a  cheat  upon  it;  and  while  they  gratify  tlie  ear,  they  edify  the  mind,  and  profit  the  more  by  pleasing.  It 
is,  therefore,  much  to  be  lamented  that  so  powerful  an  art,  which  was  at  first  consecrated  to  the  honour 
of  God,  and  has  been  so  often  employed  in  his  service,  should  be  debauched,  as  it  has  been,  and  is  at  this 
day,  into  the  service  of  his  enemies;  that  his  corn,  and  wine,  and  oil,  should  be  prepared  for  Baal. 

V.  As  the  manner  of  the  composition  of  these  books  is  excellent,  and  very  proper  to  engage  the  atten- 
tion, move  the  affections,  and  fix  them  in  the  memory,  so  the  matter  is  highly  useful,  and  such  as  will  be 
every  way  serviceable  to  us.  They  have  in  them  the  veiy  sum  and  substance  of  religion,  and  what  they 
contain  is  more  fitted  to  our  hand,  and  made  ready  for  use,  than  any  part  of  the  Old  Testament;  upon 
which  account,  if  we  may  be  allowed  to  compare  one  star  with  another,  in  the  firmament  of  the  scripture, 
these  will  be  reckoned  stars  of  the  first  magnitude. 

All  scripture  is  profitable  (and  this  part  of  it  in  a  special  manner)  for  instruction  in  doctrine,  in  devo- 
tion, and  in  the  right  ordering  of  the  conversation.  -The  book  of  Job  directs  us  what  we  are  to  believe 
concerning  God;  the  book  of  Psalms,  how  we  are  to  worship  him,  pay  our  homage  to  him,  and  maintain 
our  communion  with  him;  and  then  the  book  of  the  Proverbs  shows  very  particularlv  how  we  are  to 
govern  oursehes  h  -rda-yi  avets-po<pv — in  every  turn  of  human  life:  thus  shall  the  man  of  God,  bv  a  due  at- 
tendance to  these  lights,  be  perfect,  thoroughly  furnished  for  e\  cry  good  work.  And  these  are  placed 
according  to  their  natural  order,  as  well  as  according  to  the  order  of  time;  for  very  fitlv  are  we  first  led 
into  the  knowledge  of  God,  our  judgments  riglitly  formed  concerning  him,  and  our  mistakes  rectified; 
and  then  instructed  how  to  worship  him,  and  to  choose  the  things  that  please  him. 

We  have  here  much  of  natural  religion,  its  principles,  its  precepts — much  of  God,  his  infinite  perfec- 
tions, his  relations  to  man,  and  his  government  both  of  the  world  and  of  the  church :  here  is  much  of  Christ, 
who  is  the  Spring,  and  Soul,  and  Centre,  of  revealed  religion,  and  whom  both  Job  :md  David  were  emi- 
nent types  of,  and  had  clear  and  happy  prospects  of.  We  have  here  that  which  will  be  of  use  to  enlight- 
en our  understandings,  and  to  acquaint  us  more  and  more  with  the  things  of  God,  with  the  deep  things  of 
God;  speculations  to  entertain  the  most  contemplative,  and  discoveries  to  satisfy  the  most  inquisitive,  and 
increase  the  knowledge  of  those  that  ai-e  most  knowing.  Here  is  that  also  which,  with  a  divine  light, 
will  bring  into  the  soul  the  heat  and  influence  of  a  divine  fire,  will  kindle  and  inflame  pious  and  devout 
affections,  on  which  wings  we  may  soar  upward,  until  we  enter  into  the  holiest.  We  may  here  be  in  the 
mount  with  God,  to  behold  his  .beauty;  and  when  we  come  down  from  that  mount,  if  we  retain  (as  we 
ought)  the  impressions  of  our  devotion  upon  our  spirits,  and  make  conscience  of  doing  that  good  which 
the  Lord  our  God  here  requires  of  us,  our  faces  shall  shine  before  all  with  whom  we  converse,  who  shall 
take  occasion  thence  to  glorify  our  Father  vjhich  is  in  heaven,  Matth.  v.  16. 

Thus  great,  thus  noble,  thus  truly  excellent,  is  the  subject,  and  thus  capable  of  being  impj-oved,  which 
gives  me  the  more  reason  to  be  ashamed  of  the  meanness  of  my  performance,  that  the  comment  breathes 
so  little  of  the  life  and  spirit  of  the  text.     "V^^e  often  wonder  at  those  that  are  not  at  all  affected  with  the 

*  Miscell.  part  2.  |  Sir  W.  Temple,  p.  329.  X  Sir  R.  Blacttmore's  preface  to  Job. 


vm  PREFACE. 

great  things  of  God,  and  have  no  taste  or  relish  of  them,  because  they  know  little  of  them :  but,  perhaps, 
we  have  more  reason  to  wonder  at  ourselves,  that,  conversing  so  frequently,  so  intimately,  with  them, 
we  are  not  more  affected  with  them,  so  as  even  to  bt  wholly  taken  up  with  them,  and  in  a  continual 
transport  of  delight  in  the  contemplation  of  them.  We  hope  to  be  so  shortly  in  the  meantime,  though, 
like  the  three  disciples  that  were  the  witnesses  of  Christ's  transfiguration  upon  the  mount,  we  are  but 
dull  and  sleepy,  yet  we  can  say.  Master,  it  w  good  to  be  here;  here  let  us  make  tabernacles,  Luke  ix.  32,  33. 
I  have  nothing  here  to  boast  of,  nothing  at  all;  but  a  great  deal  to  be  humbled  for,  that  I  have  not  come 
up  to  what  I  have  aimed  at,  in  respect  of  fulness  and  exactness.  In  the  review  of  it,  I  find  many  defects, 
and  those  who  are  critical  perhaps  will  meet  with  some  mistakes  in  it;  but  I  have  done  it  with  what  care 
I  could,  and  desire  to  be  thankful  to  God,  who,  by  his  grace,  has  carried  me  on  in  his  work  thus  far:  let  that 
gi-ace  have  all  the  glory,  (Phil.  ii.  13.)  which  works  in  us  both  to  will  and  to  do  whatever  he  will  or  do, 
that  is  good,  or  serves  any  good  purpose.  What  is  from  God,  I  trust,  shall  be  to  him,  shall  be  graciously 
accepted  by  him,  according  to  what  a  man  has,  and  not  according  to  what  he  has  not,  and  shall  be  of 
some  use  to  his  church;  and  what  is  from  myself,  that  is,  all  the  defects  and  errors,  shall,  I  tinist,  be 
favourably  passed  by  and  pardoned.  That  prayer  of  St,  Austin  is  mine,  Domine  Deus,  gusecungue  dixi 
in  his  libris  de  tuo,  agnoscant  et  tut;  et  gux  de  mco,  et  tu  ignoseeet  tui — JLord  God,  whatever  I  have  main- 
tained in  these  books  corresfiondent  with  what  is  contained  in  thine,  grant  that  thy  people  may  approve  as 
well  as  thyself;  whatever  is  but  the  doctrine  of  my  book,  forgive  thou,  and  grant  that  thy  people  may 
forgive  also. 

I  must  beg  likewise  to  own,  to  the  honour  of  our  great  Master,  that  I  have  found  the  work  to  be  its 
own  wages;  and  that  the  more  we  converse  with  the  word  of  God,  the  more  it  is  to  us  as  the  honey  and 
the  honeycomb,  Ps.  xix.  10.  In  gathering  some  gleanings  of  this  harvest  for  others,  we  may  feast  our- 
selves; and  when  we  are  enabled,  by  the  grace  of  God,  to  do  so,  we  are  best  qualified  to  feed  others.  I 
was  much  pleased  with  the  passage  I  lately  met  with  of  Erasmus,  that  great  scholar  and  celebrated  wit, 
in  an  epistle  dedicatory  before  his  book  De  Ratione  Concionandi,  where,  as  one  weary  of  the  world  and 
the  hurry  of  it,  he  expresses  an  earnest  desire  to  spend  the  rest  of  his  days  in  secret  communion  with 
Jesus  Christ,  encouraged  by  his  gracious  invitation  to  those  who  labour  and  are  heavy-laden  to  come  unto 
him  for  rest;  (Matth.  xi.  28.)  and  this  alone  is  that  which  he  thinks  will  yield  him  true  satisfaction.  I 
think  his  words  worth  transcribing,  and  such  as  deserve  to  be  inserted  among  the  testimonies  of  great 
men  to  serious  godliness.  Kegue  guisguam  facile  cr^at  guam  misere  animus  jamdudum  affectet  ab  his 
laboribus  in  tranguillum  oMum  secedere,  guodgue  superest  vitge,  (superest  autem  vix  brevis  palmus  srve 
pugillus,)  solum  cum  eo  solo  collogui,  gui  clamavit  olim,  (nee  hodie  mutat  vocem  suam,)  "  Venite  ad 
me,  omnes  gui  laboratis,  et  onerati  estis,  ego  rejiciam  vos;"  guandoguidem  in  tam  turbulento,  ne  dicam 
furente,  sseculo,  in  tot  molestiis  guaa  vel  ipsa  tempora  publici  invehunt,  vel privatim  adfert  setas  ac  va- 
letudo,  nihil  reperio  in  guo  mens  mea  libentiius  conguiescat  guam  in  hoc  arcano  colloguio — J^o  one  will 
easily  believe  ho%v  anxiously,  for  a  long  time  past,  J  have  wished  to  retire  from  these  labours  into  a  scene 
oftranguillity,  and,  during  the  remainder  of  life,  (dwindled,  it  is  true,  to  the  shortest  span,  J  to  converse 
only  with  him  who  once  cried,  (nor  does  he  now  retract,  J  "  Come  unto  me,  all  ye  that  labour,  and  are 
heavy-laden,  and  I  will  refresh  you;"  for  in  this  turbulent,  not  to  say  furious,  age,  the  many  public 
sources  of  disguietude  connected  with  the  infirmities  of  advancing  age  leave  no  solace  to  my  mind  to  be  com- 
pared with  this  secret  communion.  In  the  pleasing  contemplation  of  the  divine  beauty  and  benignity  we  hope 
to  spend  a  blessed  eternity,  and  therefore  in  this  work  it  is  good  to  spend  as  much  as  may  be  of  our  time. 
One  volume  more,  containing  the  Prophetical  books,  will  finish  the  Old  Testament,  if  the  Lord  con- 
tinue my  life,  and  leisure,  and  ability  of  mind  and"  body  for  this  work.  It  is  begim,  and  I  fir.-i  it  will  be 
larger  than  any  of  the  other  volumes,  and  longer  in  the  doing;  but  as  God,  by  his  grace,  shall  funiish  me 
for  it,  and  assist  me  in  it,  (without  which  grace  I  am  nothing,  less  than  nothing,)  it  shall  be  carried  on 
with  all  convenient  speed;  and  sat  cito,  si  sat  bene — if  with  sufficient  ability,  it  will  be  with  sufficient  speed. 
I  desire  the  prayers  of  my  friends,  that  God  would  minister  seed  to  the  sower,  and  bread  to  the  eaters, 
(Isa.  Iv.  10.)  that  he  would  multiply  the  seed  sown,  and  increase  the  fruits  of  our  righteousness;  (2  Cor. 
ix.  10.)  that  so  he  who  sows  and  they  who  reap  may  rejoice  together;  (John  iv.  36.)  and  the  great  Lord 
of  the  harvest  shall  have  the  glory  oi  alU 

M.  H. 
Cheater,  May  13,  1710. 


AN 


EXPOSITION, 

WITH 

PRACTICAL  OBSERVATIONS, 
OF  THE  BOOK  OF 

JOB. 


This  book  of  Job  stands  by  itself,  is  not  connected  with  any  other,  and  is  therefore  to  be  considered  alone. 
Many  copies  of  the  Hebrew  Bible  place  it  after  the  book  of  Psalms,  and  some  after  the  Proverbs,  which 
perhaps  has  given  occasion  to  some  learned  men  to  imagine  it  to  be  written  by  Isaiah,  or  some  of  the 
later  prophets.  But,  as  the  subject  appears  to  have  been  much  more  ancient,  so  we  have  no  reason  to 
think  but  that  the  composition  of  the  book  was,  and  that  therefore  it  is  most  fitly  placed  first  in  this 
collection  of  divine  morals:  also,  being  doctrinal,  it  is  proper  to  precede,  and 'introduce,  the  book  of 
Psalms,  which  is  devotional,  and  the  book  of  Proverbs,  which  is  practical;  for  how  shall  we  worship 
or  obey  a  God  whom  we  know  not? 

As  to  this  book, 

I.  We  are  sure  that  it  is  given  by  insfiiration  of  God,  though  ive  are  not  certain  who  was  the  fienman  of 
it.  The  Jews,  though  no  friends  to  Job,  because  he  was  a  stranger  to  the  commonwealth  of  Israel,  yet, 
as  faithful  conservators  of  the  oraclen  of  God  committed  to  them,  always  retained  this  book  in  their  sa- 
cred canon.  The  history  is  referred  to  by  one  apostle;  (James,  v.  11.')  and  one  passage  {ch.  v.  13.)  is 
quoted  by  another  apostle,  with  the  usual  form  of  quoting  scripture.  It  is  written,  1  Cor.  iii.  19.  It  is 
the  opinion  of  many  of  the  ancients,  that  this  history  was  written  by  Moses  himself  in  Midian,  and  de- 
livered to  his  suffering  brethren  in  Egypt,  for  their  support  and  comfort  under  their  burthens,  and  the 
encouragement  of  their  hope  that  God  would,  in  due  time,  deliver  and  enrich  them,  as  he  did  this  pa- 
tient sufferer.  Some  conjecture  that  it  was  written  originally  in  Arabic,  and  afterward  translated  into 
Hebrew,  for  the  use  of  the  Jewish  church,  by  Solomon,  (so  Monsieur  Jurieu,)  or  some  other  inspired 
writer.  It  seems  most  probable  to  me,  that  Elihu  was  the  penman  of  it,  at  least  of  the  discourses,  be- 
cause (ch.  xxxii.  15,  16.)  he  mingles  the  words  of  an  historian  with  those  of  a  disputant:  but  Moses 
perhaps  wrote  the  two  first  chapters  and  the  last,  to  give  light  to  the  discourses;  for  in  them  God  is 
frequently  called  Jehovah,  but  not  once  in  all  the  discourses,  except  ch.  xii.  9.  That  name  was  but 
little  known  to  the  patriarchs  before  Moses,  Exod.  vi.  3.  If  Job  wrote  it  himself,  some  of  the  Jewish 
writers  themselves  own  him  afirofihet  among  the  Gentiles;  if  Elihu,  we  find  he  had  a  spirit  of  prophecy 
which  filled  him  with  matter,  and  constrained  him,  ch.  xxxii.  18. 

TI.  We  are  sure  that  it  is,  for  the  substance  of  it,  a  true  history,  and  not  a  romance,  though  the  dialogues 
are  fioetical.  No  doubt  there  was  such  a  man  as  Job;  the  prophet  Ezekiel  names  him  with  Noah  and 
Daniel,  Ezek.  xiv.  14.  The  narrative  we  have  here  of  his  prosperity  and  piety,  his  strange  afflictions 
and  exeniplary  patience,  the  substance  of  his  conferences  with  his  friends,  and  God's  discourse  with 
him  out  of^the  whirlwind,  with  his  retum,  at  length,  to  a  very  prosperous  condition,  no  doubt,  is  exactly 
true,  though  the  inspired  penman  is  allowed  the  usual  liberty  of  putting  the  matter  of  which  Job  and 
his  friends  discoursed,  into  his  own  words. 

III.  We  are  sure  that  it  is  very  ancient,  though  we  cannot  fix  the  precise  tiyne  either  when  .Job  lived,  or 
when  the  book  was  written.  So  many,  so  evident,  are  its  hoaiy  hairs,  the  marks  of  its  antiquity,  that 
we  ha\  e  reason  to  think  it  of  equal  date  with  the  book  of  Genesis  itself,  and  that  holy  Job  was  contem- 
poraty  with  Isaac  and  Jacob;  though  not  co-heir  with  them  <'f  the  promise  of  the  earthly  Canaan,  vet  a 
joint-expectant  with  them  of  the  better  country,  that  is,  t/ic  heavenly.  Probably,  he  was  of  the  poste- 
rity of  Nahor,  Abraham's  brother,  whose  first-born  was  Cz,  {(\en.  xxii.  21.)  and  in  whose  family  re- 
ligion was,  for  some  ages,  kept  up,  as  appears,  Gen.  xxxi.  53.  where  God  is  called,  not  only  the  God  of 
Abraham,  but  the  God  of  JSTahor.  He  lived  before  the  age  of  man  was  shortened  to  70  of  80,  as  it  was 
in  Moses's  time;  before  sacrifices  were  confined  to  one  altar;  before  the  general  apostasy  of  the  nations 
from  the  knowledge  and  worship  of  the  true  God;  and  while  yet  there  was  no  other  idolatry  known 
than  the  worship  of  the  sun  and  moon,  and  that  punished  by  the  Judges,  ch.  xxxi.  26,  28.  He  lived 
while  God  was  known  by  the  name  of  God  Almighty,  more  than  by  the  name  of  Jehovah;  for  he  is 

Vor-.  HI. — R 


10  JOB.  I. 

called  Shaddai — the  Almighty,  above  thirty  times  in  this  book:  he  lived  while  divine  knowledge  was 
conveyed,  not  by  writing,  but  by  tradition ;  for  to  that  appeals  are  hei  e  made,  ch:  viii.  8. — xxi.  29. — xv 
18. — V.  1.  And  we  have  therefore  reason  to  think  that  he  lived  before  Moses,  because  here  is  no 
mention  at  all  of  the  deliverance  of  Israel  out  of  Egypt,  or  the  giving  of  the  law.  Tliere  is  indeed  one 
passage  which  might  be  made  to  allude  to  the  drowning  of  Pharaoh,  {ch.  xxvi.  12.)  He  dhndeth  the  sea 
with  his  poiver,  and  by  his  understanding  he  smiteth  through  Rahab;  which  name  Egypt  is  very  fre- 
quently called  by  in  scripture,  as  Ps.  Ixxxvii.  4. — Ixxxix.  10..  Isa.  li.  9.  But  that  may  as  well  refer  to 
the  proud  waves  of  the  sea.  We  conclude  therefore  that  we  are  here  got  back  to  the  patriarchal  age, 
and,  beside  its  authority,  we  receive  tliis  book  with  \  eneration  for  its  antiquity. 
IV.  We  are  sure  that  it  is  of  great  use  to  the  church,  and  to  every  good  Christian,  though  there  are 
inany  passages  in  it  dark  and  hard  to  be  understood.  We  cannot  perhaps  be  confident  of  the  true 
meaning  of  every  Arabic  word  and  phrase  we  meet  with  in  it.  It  is  a  book  that  finds  a  great  deal  of 
work  for  the  critics;  but  enough  is  plain  to  make  the  whole  profitable,  and  it  was  all  written  for  our 
learning.  This  noble  poem  presents  to  us,  in  very  clear  and  lively  characters,  these  five  things  among 
others: — 

1.  A  monument  of  firimitive  theology.  The  first  and  great  principles  of  the  light  of  nature,  on  which 
oatural  religion  is  founded,  are  here,  in  a  warm,  and  long,  and  learned,  dispute,  not  only  taken  for 
granted  on  all  sides,  and  not  the  least  doubt  made  of  them,  but  by  common  consent  plainly  laid  down  as 
eternal  truths,  illustrated  and  urged  as  affecting  commanding  truths.  Were  ever  the  being  of  God,  his 
glorious  attributes  and  perfections,  his  unsearchable  wisdom,  his  irresistible  power,  his  inconceivable 
glory,  his  inflexible  justice,  and  his  incontestable  sovereignty,  discoursed  of  with  more  clearness,  fulness, 
reveren -e,  and  divine  eloquence,  than  in  this  book?  The  creation  of  the  world,  and  the  government  of 
it,  are  here  admirably  described,  not  as.matters  of  nice  speculation,  but  as  laying  most  powerful  obliga- 
tions upon  us  to  fear  and  serve,  to  submit  to,  and  trust  in,  our  Creator,  Owner,  Lord,  and  Ruler.  Moral 
good  and  evil,  virtue  and  vice,  were  never  drawn  more  to  the  life,  (the  beauty  of  the  one  and  the 
deformity  of  the  other,)  than  in  this  book;  nor  the  inviolable  rule  of  God's  judgment  more  plainly  laid 
down.  That  happy  are  the  righteous,  it  shall  be  well  with  them;  and  wo  to  the  wicked,  it  shall  be  ill  with 
them.  These  are  not  questions  of  the  schools,  to  keep  the  learned  world  in  action,  nor  engines  of  state, 
to  keep  the  unlearned  world  in  awe;  no,  it  appears  by  this  book  that  they  are  sacred  truths  of  undoubt- 
ed certainty,  and  which  all  the  wise  and  sober  part  of  mankind  have  in  every  age  subscribed  and  sub- 
mitted to. 

2.  It  presents  us  with  a  sfiecimen  of  Gentile  fiiety.  This  great  saint  descended,  not  from  Abraham,  but 
Nahor;  or,  if  from  Abraham,  not  from  Isaac,  but  from  one  of  the  sons  of  the  concubines  that  were  sent 
into  the  east  country;  (Gen.  xxv.  6.)  or,  if  from  Isaac,  yet  not  from  Jacob,  but  Esau;  so  that  he  was 
out  of  the  pale  of  the  covenant  of  peculiarity,  no  Israelite,  no  proselyte,  and  yet  none  like  him  for 
religion,  nor  such  a  favourite  of  heaven  upon  ttiis  earth.  It  was  a  truth,  therefore,  before  St.  Peter 
perceived  it,  that,  iwevery  nation,  he  that  fears  God,  and  works  righteousness,  is  accepted  of  him.  Acts 
X.  35.  There  were  children  of  God  scattered  abroad,  (John  xi.  52.)  beside  the  incorporated  children 
of  the  kingdom,  Matth.  viii.  11,  12. 

3.  It  presents  us  with  an  exposition  of  the  book  of  Providence,  and  a  clear  and  satisfactory  solution  of 
many  of  the  difficult  and  obscure  passages  of  it.  The  prosperity  of  the  wicked,  and  the  afflictions  of 
the  righteous,  have  always  been  reckoned  two  as  hard  chapters  as  any  in  that  book;  but  they  ai'e  here 
expounded,  and  reconciled  with  the  divine  wisdom,  purity,  and  goodness,  by  the  end  of  these  things. 

4.  It  presents  us  with  a  great  example  of  patience,  and  close  adherence  to  God,  in  the  midst  of  the  sorest 
calamities.  Sir  Richard  Blackmore's  most  ingenious  pen,  in  his  excellent  preface  to  his  paraphrase  on 
this  book,  makes  Job  a  hero  proper  for  an  epic  poem;  for,  (says  he,)  "He  appears  brave  in  distress, 
and  valiant  in  affliction,  maintains  his  virtue,  and  with  tint  his  character,  under  the  most  exasperating 
provocations  tliat  the  malice  of  hell  could  invent,  and  thereby  gives  a  most  noble  example  of  passive 
fortitude,  a  character  no  way  inferior  to  that  of  the  active  hero,"  &c. 

5.  It  presents  us  with  an  illustrious  tyfie  of  Christ,  the  particulars  of  which  we  shall  endeavour  to  take 
notice  of  as  we  go  along.  In  general.  Job  was  a  great  sufferer,  was  emptied  and  humbled,  but  in  order 
to  his  greater  glory.  So  Christ  abused  himself,  that  we  might  be  exalted.  The  learned  Bishop  Patrick 
quotes  St.  Jerom  more  than  once  speaking  of  Job  as  a  type  of  Christ,  who,  for  the  joy  that  was  set  be- 
fore him,  endured  the  cross,  who  was  persecuted  for  a  time  bv  men  and  devils,  and  seemed  forsaken 
<jf  God  too,  but  was  raised  up  to  be  an  intercessor  even  for  his  friends  that  had  added  affliction  to  his 
misery.  When  the  apostle  speaks  oitYve  patience  of  Job,  he  immediately  takes  notice  of  the  end  of  the 
Lord,  that  is,  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  (as  some  understand  it,)  typified  by  Job,  James  v.  11. 

In  this  l)ook  we  have,  (1.)  The  history  of  Job's  sufferings,  and  his  patience  under  them,  {ch.  i,  ii.)  not 
without  a  mixture  of  human  frailty,  ch.  iii.  (2.)  A  disjmte  between  him  and  his  friends  upon  them,  in 
which,  [1.]  The  opponents  were  "Eliphaz,  Bildad,  and  Zophar.  [2.]  The  respondent  was  Job.  [3.] 
The  moderators  were.  First,  Elihu,  ch.  xxxii...xxxvii. '  Secondly,  God  himself,  ch.  xxxviii.-.xlit 
("5. )  The  issue  of  all  in  Job's  honour  and  prosperity,  ch.  xlii.  Upon  the  whole,  we  learn,  that  many  are 
tl\e  afflictions  of  the  righteous,  but  that,  when  the  Lord  delivers  them  out  of  all,  the  trial  of  their  faith 
will  be  found  to  praise,  and  honour,  and  glory. 


JOB,  I. 


M 


CHAP.  1. 

The  history  of  Job  begins  here,  with  an  account,  I,  Of  his 
great  piety  in  general,  (v.  1.)  and  in  a  particular  in- 
stance, V.  5.  II.  Of  his  great  prosperity,  v.  2.  .4.  Ill- 
Of  the  malice  of  Satan  against  him,  and  the  permission 
he  obtained  to  try  his  constancy,  v.  6. .  12.  IV.  Of  the 
surprising  troubles  that  befell  him;  the  ruin  of  his  estate, 
(y.  13 .  .  17.)  and  the  death  of  his  children,  v.  18,  19.  V. 
Of  his  exemplary  patience  and  piety  under  these  troubles, 
V.  20. .  22.  In  all  which,  he  is  set  forth  for  an  example  of 
suffering  affliction,  from  which  no  prosperity  can  secure 
us,  but  through  which  integrity  and  uprightness  will 
preserve  us. 

J.  y  I ^HERE  was  a  man  in  the  land  of 
1  Uz,  whose  name  was  Job ;  and  that 
man  was  perfect  and  upright,  and  one  that 
f"ared  God,  and  eschewed  evil.  2.  And 
there  were  born  unto  him  seven  sons  and 
three  daughters.  3.  His  substance  also  was 
seven  thousand  sheep,  and  three  thousand 
camels,  and  five  hundred  yoke  of  oxen,  and 
five  hundred  she-asses,  and  a  very  great 
household  ;  so  that  tiiis  man  was  the  great- 
est of  all  the  men  of  the  east. 

Concerning  Job,  we  are  here  told, 

I.  That  he  was  a  m  in;  therefore  subject  to  like 
passions  as  we  are.  He  was  Ish,  a  worthy  man,  a 
man  of  note  and  eminency,  a  magistrate,  a  man  in 
avithority.  The  country  he  lived  in  was  the  land  of 
Uz,  in  the  eastern  part  of  Arabia,  which  lay  toward 
Chaldea,  near  Euphrates,  probably  not  far  from  Ur 
of  the  Chaldees,  whence  Abraham  was  called. 
When  God  called  one  good  man  out  of  that  coun- 
trv,  yet  he  left  not  himself  ivithoiU  witness,  but 
raisecl  up  another  in  it  to  be  i\.  preacher  of  righteous- 
fiefis.  God  has  his  remnant  in  all  places,  sealed  ones 
nut  of  every  nation,  as  well  as  out  of  every  tribe  of 
Israel,  Rev.  vii.  9.  It  was  the  privilege  of  the  land 
of  Uz  to  have  so  good  a  man  as  Job  in  it  ;  now  it 
was  jirabia  the  Hapfiy  indeed:  and  it  was  tlie 
})raise  of  Job,  that  he  was  eminently  good  in  so  bad 
a  place;  the  worse  others  were  round  about  him,  the 
better  he  was. 

His  name  Job,  or  Jjob,  (some  say,)  signifies  one 
hated,  and  counted  as  an  enemy;  others  make  it  to 
signify  one  that  grieves,  or  groans;  thus  the  sorrow 
he  carried  in  his  nanie  might  be  a  check  to  his  joy 
in  his  prosperity.  Dr.  Cave  derives  it  from  Jaab, 
to  love,  or  desire,  intimating  how  welcome  his  birth 
was  to  his  parents,  and  how  much  he  was  the  desire 
of  their  eyes;  and  yet  there  was  a  time  when  he 
cursed  the  day  of  his  birth.  Who  can  tell  what  the 
day  may  prove,  which  yet  begins  with  a  bright 
morning*  \ 

II.  That  he  was  a  very  good  man,  eminently 
pious,  and  better  than  his  neighbours.  He  mas  fier- 
f''ct  and  upright.    This  is  intended  to  show  us,  not 

only  what  reputation  he  had  among  men,  (that  he 
was  .generally  taken  for  an  honest  man,)  but  what 
was  really  his  character;  for  it  is  the  judgment  of 
God  concerning  him,  and  we  are  sure  that  is  ac- 
cording to  truth.  1.  Job  was  a  religious  man,  one 
that  feared  God,  that  is,  worshipped  him  according 
to  his  will,  and  governed  himself  bv  the  rules  -oJF 
the  divine  law  in  every  thing.  2.  He  was  sincere 
in  his  religion;  he  was  perfect,  not  sinless;  he  him- 
self owns,  (ch.  ix.  20.)  Tf  I  say  I  am  perfect,  I  shall 
be  proved  perx<erse.  But,  having  a  respect  to  all 
God's  commandments,  aiming  at  perfection,  he 
was  really  as  good  as  he  seemed  to  be,  and  did  not 
dissemble  in  his  profession  of  pietv;  his  heart  was 
sound,  and  his  eye  single.  Sincerity  is  gospel-per- 
fection; I  know  no  religion  without  it.     o.  He  was  i. 


upright  in  his  dealings  both  with  God  and  man ;  whs 
faithful  to  his  promises,  steady  in  his  counsels,  tn.c 
to  every  trust  reposed  in  him,  and  made  conscieiut- 
of  all  he  said  and  did.  See  Isa.  xxxiii.  15.  Though  he- 
was  not  o/ Israel,  he  was  indeed  an  Israelite  with- 
out guile.  4.  The  fear  of  God  i-eigning  in  his  hear: 
was  the  principle  that  governed  his  whole  con\  er- 
sation.  That  made  him  perfect  and  upright,  in  \var<l 
and  entire  for  God,  universal  and  uniform  in  religion ; 
that  kept  him  close  and  constant  to  his  duty. '  He 
feared  God,  had  a  reverence  for  his  majesty,  a  re- 
gard to  his  authority,  and  a  dread  of  his  wrath'.  5.  He 
dreaded  the  thought  of  doing  what  was  wrong;  witli 
the  utmost  abhorrence  and  detestation,  and,  witli  u 
constant  care  and  watchfulness,  he  eschewed  evU, 
avoided  all  appearances  of  sin  and  approaches  to  it, 
and  tliis,  because  of  the  fear  of  God,  Neh.  v.  15. 
The  fear  of  the  Lord  is  to  hate  evil;  (Prov.  viii.  13.) 
and  then,  by  the  fear  of  the  Lord  men  depart  fro?n 
evil,  Prov.  xvi.  6. 

III.  That  he  was  a  man  who  prospered  greatlv 
in  this  world,  and  made  a  considerable  figure  iii 
his  country.  He  was  prospei-ous,  and  yet  pious. 
Though  it  is  hard  and  rare,  it  is  not  impossible,  for 
a  rich  man  to  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven:  with 
God,  even  this  is  possible,  and  bv  his  grace  the 
temptations  of  worldly  wealth  are  not  insuperable. 
He  was  pious,  and  his  piety  was  a  friend  to  his  pros- 
perity; for  godliness  has  the  promise  of  the  life  that 
now  is.  He  was  prosperous,  and  his  prosperity  put 
a  lustre  upon  his  piety,  and  gave  him,  who  was  so 
good,  so  much  greater  opportunity  of  doing  good. 
The  acts  of  his  piety  were  grateful  returns  to  God 
for  the  instances  of  his  prosperity;  and,  in  the  abun- 
dance of  the  good  things  God  gave  him,  he  served 
God  the  more  cheerfully. 

1.  He  had  a  numerous  family;  he  was  eminent 
for  religion,  and  yet  not  a  hermit;  not  a  recluse, 
but  the  father  and  master  of  a  family.  It  is  an  in- 
stance of  his  prosperity,  that  his  house  was  filled 
with  children,  which  are  a  heritage  of  the  Lord, 
and  liis  reward,  Ps.  cxxvii.  3.  He  had  sez^en  sons 
and  three  daughters,  v.  2.  Some  of  each  sex,  and 
more  of  the  more  noble  sex,  in  which  the  family  is 
built  up.  Children  must  be  looked  upon  as  bless- 
ings, for  so  they  are,  especially  to  good  people,  that 
will  give  them  good  instructions,  and  set  them  good 
examples,  and  put  up  good  prayers  for  them.  Job 
had  many  children,  and  yet  he  was  neither  oppress- 
ed nor  uncharitable,  I)ut  very  liberal  to  the  poor, 
ch.  xxxi.  17,  8cc.  Those  that  have  great  families  to 
provide  for  ought  to  consider,  that  what  is  prudent- 
ly given  in  alms  is  set  out  to  the  best  interest,  and 
put  into  the  best  fund  for  their  children's  benefit. 

2.  He  had  a  e;ood  estate  for  the  support  of  his 
family;  his  substance  was  considerable,  v.  3.  Riches 
are  called  substance,  in  conformity  to  the  common 
form  of  speaking;  otherwise,  to  the  soul  and  another 
world,  they  are  but  shadows,  things  that  are  not, 
Prov.  xxiii.  5.  It  is  only  in  heavenly  wisdom  that  we 
inherit  substance,  Prov.'  viii.  21.  In  those  days,  when 
the  earth  was  not  fully  peopled,  it  was,  as  now, 
in  some  of  the  plantations,  men  might  have  ImkI 
enough  upon  easy  terms,  if  they  had  but  where- 
withal to  stock  it;  and  therefore  Job's  substance  is 
described,  not  by  the  acres  of  land  he  was  lord  of. 
but, 

(1.)  Bv  his  cattle;  sheep  and  camels,  oxen  and 
asses.  The  numbers  of  each  are  here  set  down, 
probably  not  the  exact  number,  but  thereabout,  ;t 
very  few  under  or  over.  The  sheep  are  put  first, 
because  of  most  use  in  the  family,  as  Solomon 
observes,  (Prov.  xxvii.  25,  26,  27.)  I^mbs  for  thv 
clothing,  and  milk  for  the  food  of  thy  household. 
Job,  it  is  likely,  \\^t\  silver  and  gold,  as  well  as 
Abraham;  (Gen.  xiii.  2.)  but  then  men  valued  their 
own  and  their  neighbours'  estates  by  that  which  was 


•12 


JOB.  I. 


tor  service  and  present  use,  more  than  by  that 
which  was  for  show  and  state,  and  fit  only  to  be 
hoarded.  As  soon  as  God  had  made  man,  and  pro- 
vided for  his  maintenance  by  the  herbs  and  fruits,  he 
made  him  rich  and  great  by  givir^  him  dominion 
over  the  creatures,  Gen.  i.  28.  That,  therefore, 
being  still  continued  to  man,  notwithstanding  his 
defection,  (Gen.  ix.  2.)  is  still  to  be  reckoned  one  of 
the  most  considerable  instances  of  men's  wealth, 
honour,  and  power,  Ps.  viii.  6. 

(2.)  By  his  servants;  he  had  a  very  good  house- 
hold or  husbandry,  many  that  were  employed  for 
him  and  maintained  by  him;  and  thus  he  both  had 
honour  and  did  good;  yet  thus  he  was  involved  in  a 
threat  deal  of  care,  and  put  to  a  great  deal  of  charge. 
See  the  vanity  of  this  world;  as  goods  are  increased, 
they  must  be  increased  that  tend  them  and  occupy 
them,  and  they  tvill  be  increased  that  eat  them;  and 
nvhat  good  has  the  owner  thereof,  save  the  beholding 
of  (hem  with  his  eyes  y  Eccles.  v.  11. 

In  a  word.  Job  was  the  greatest  of  all  the  men  of  the 
east;  and  tliey  were  the  richest  in  the  world:  those 
were  rich  indeed  who  were  refilenished  more  than 
the  east,  Isa.  ii.  6.  margin.  Job's  wealth,  with  his 
wisdom,  entitled  him  to  the  honour  and  power  he 
had  in  his  country,  whirh  he  describes,  ch.  xxix.  and 
made  him  sit  chief.  Job  was  upright  and  honest, 
and  yet  grew  rich,  nay,  therefore  grew  rich;  for 
honesty  is  the  best  policy,  and  piety  and  charity  are 
ordinarily  the  surest  ways  of  thriving.  He  had  a 
great  household  and  much  business,  and  yet  kept 
up  the  fear  and  worship  of  God;  and  he  and  his 
house  served  the  Lord.  The  account  of  Job's  piety 
and  prosperity  comes  before  the  history'  of  his  great 
afflictions,  to  show  that  neither  will  secure  us  from 
the  common,  no,  nor  from  the  uncommon,  calami- 
ties of  human  life.  Piety  will  not  secure  us,  as  Job's 
mistaken  friends  thought,  for  all  things  come  alike 
to  all;  pros])erity  will  not,  as  a  careless  world 
thinks;  (Isa.  xlvii.  8.)  I  sit  as  a  queen,  and  therefore 
shall  see  no  sorroiv. 

4.  And  his  sons  went  and  feasted  in  their 
houses  every  one  his  day ;  and  sent  and 
railed  for  their  three  sisters,  to  eat  and  to 
drink  with  them.  5.  And  it  was  so,  when 
the  days  of  their  feasting  were  g;one  about, 
that  Job  sent  and  sanctified  them,  and  rose 
uo  early  in  the  morning:,  and  offered  burnt- 
offerings  according  to  the  number  of  them 
all :  for  Job  said.  It  may  be  that  my  sons 
have  sinned,  and  cursed  God  in  their  hearts. 
Thus  did  Job  continually. 

We  have  here  a  further  account  of  Job's  prospe- 
rity and  his  piety. 

I.  His  great  comfort  in  his  children  is  taken  no- 
tice of  as  an  instance  of  his  prosperity;  for  our  tem- 
poral comforts  are  borrowed,  depend  upon  others, 
and  are  as  those  about  us  are.  Job  himself  mentions 
it  as  one  of  the  greatest  joys  of  his  prosperous  estate, 
t\\2A  hh  children -w&re  about  him,  ch.  xxix.  5.  They 
kept  a  circular  feast  at  some  certain  times;  {xk  4.) 
they  tvent  and  feasted  in  their  houses.  It  was  a 
comfort  to  this  good  man,  1.  To  see  his  children 
grown  up  and  settled  in  the  world;  all  his  sons  were 
in  houses  of  their  own,  probably  married;  and  to 
each  of  them  he  had  given  a  competent  portion  to 
set  up  with.  They  that  had  been  olive-plants 
round  his  table,  were  removed  to  tables  of  their 
own.  2.  To  see  them  thrive  in  their  affairs, 
:>nd  able  to  feast  one  another,  as  well  as  to  feed 
t'lemselves.  Good  parents  desire,  promote,  and 
rejoice  in,  their  children's  wealth  and  prosperity, 


as  their  own.  3.  To  see  them  in  health,  no  sick- 
ness in  their  houses;  for  that  would  have  spoiled 
their  feasting,  and  turned  it  into  mourning.  4.  Es- 
pecially to  see  them  live  in  love  and  unity,  and  mu- 
tual good  affection;  no  jars  or  quarrels  among  them, 
no  strangeness,  no  shyness  one  of  another,  no  strait- 
handedness;  but,  though  every  one  knew  his  own, 
they  lived  with  as  much  freedom  as  if  they  had  had 
all  in  common.  It  is  comfortable  to  the  hearts  ot 
parents,  and  comely  in  the  eyes  of  all,  to  see  bre- 
thren thus  knit  together;  Behold,  hoiv  good  and 
how fileasant  it  is!  Ps.  cxxxiii.  1.  5.  It  added  to  the 
comfort,  to  see  the  brothers  so  kind  to  their  sisters, 
that  they  sent  for  them  to  feast  with  them;  who 
were  so  modest,  that  they  would  not  have  gone,  if 
theyhad  not  been  sent  for.  Those  brothers  that  slight 
their  sisters,  care  not  for  their  company,  and  ha\  e 
no  concern  for  their  comfort,  are  ill-bred  and  ill- 
natured,  and  very  unlike  Job's  sons.  It  seems  their 
feast  was  so  sober  and  decent,  that  their  sisters  were 
good  company  for  them  at  it.  6.  They  feasted  in 
their  own  houses,  not  in  public  houses,  where  they 
would  be  more  exposed  to  temptations,  and  which 
were  not  so  creditable. 

We  do  not  find  that  Job  himself  feasted  with 
them;  doubtless  they  invited  him,  and  he  would 
have  been  the  most  welcome  guest  at  any  of  their 
tables;  nor  was  it  from  any  sourness  or  moroseness 
of  temper,  or  for  want  of  natural  affection,  that  he 
kept  away,  but  he  was  old  and  dead  to  those  things, 
like  Barzdlai,  (2  Sam.xix.  35.)  and  considered  that 
the  young  people  would  be  more  free  and  pleasant, 
if  there  were  none  but  themselves.  Yet  he  would 
not  restrain  his  children  from  that  diversion  which 
he  denied  himself.  Young  people  may  be  allowed 
a  youthful  liberty,  provided  they  flee  youthful  lusts. 

II.  His  great  care  about  his  children  is  taken  no- 
tice of  as  an  instance  of  his  piety :  for  that  we  are 
really,  which  we  are  relatively.  Those  that  are 
good  will  be  good  to  their  children,  and  especially 
do  what  they  can  for  the  good  of  their  souls.  Ob- 
serve, {v.  5. )  Job's  pious  concern  for  the  spiritual 
welfare  of  his  children. 

1.  He  was  jealous  over  them  with  a  godly  jea- 
lousy: and  so  we  ought  to  be  over  ourselves  and 
those  that  are  dearest  to  us,  as  far  as  is  necessary 
to  our  care  and  endeavour  for  their  good.  Job  had 
given  his  children  a  good  education,  had  comfort  in 
them,  and  good  hope  concerning  them;  and  yet 
he  said,  "  It  may  be  my  sons  have  sinned  in  the 
days  of  their  feasting,  more  than  at  other  times; 
have  been  too  merry,  have  taken  too  great  a  liber- 
ty in  eating  and  drinking,  and  have  cursed  God  in 
their  hearts,"  that  is,  "  have  entertained  atheistical, 
profane,  thoughts  in  their  minds,  unworthy  notions 
of  God  and  his  providence,  and  the  exercises  of  re- 
ligion." When  they  -were  full,  they  were  ready  to 
deny  God,  and  to  say,  Who  is  the  Lord?  ready 
(Prov.  XXX.  9.)  toforget  God,  and  to  say.  The /low- 
er of  our  hand  h:\s  gof  (en  us  this  wealth,  Dcut.  viii. 
12,  iJfc.  Nothing  alienates  the  mind  moVe  from  God 
than  the  indulgence  of  the  flesh. 

2.  As  soon  as  the  days  of  their  feasting  were  over, 
he  called  them  to  the  solemn  exercises  of  religion: 
not  while  their  feasting  lasted;  (Let  them  take  theii 
time  for  that;  there  is  a  time  for  all  things;)  but, 
when  it  was  over,  their  good  father  reminded  them 
that  they  must  know  when  to  take  up,  and  not  think 
to  fare  sumptuously  every  day;  though  they  had 
their  days  of  feasting  the  week  round,  they  must  not 
think  to  have  them  the  year  roimd;  they  had  some- 
thing else  to  do.  Note,  Those  that  are  merry  must 
find  a  time  to  be  serious. 

3.  He  sent  to  them  to  prepare  for  solemn  ordi- 
nances, sent  and  sancdjied  (hem;  ordered  them  to 
examine  their  own  consciences,  and  repent  of  what 
they  had  done  amiss  in  their  feasting;  to  lay  aside 


JOB,  1. 


13 


their  vanity,  and  compose  themselves  for  religious 
exercises.  Thus  he  kept  his  authority  over  them 
for  their  good,  and  they  submitted  to  it,  though  they 
were  got  into  houses  of  their  own.  Still  he  was  the 
priest  of  the  family,  and  at  his  altar  they  all  attend- 
ed, valuing  their  share  in  his  prayers  more  than 
their  share  in  his  estate.  Parents  cannot  give  grace 
to  their  children,  (it  is  God  that  sanctifies,)  but 
they  ought,  by  seasonable  admonitions  and  coun- 
sels, to  further  their  sanctification.  In  their  bap- 
tism they  were  sanctified  to  God;  let  it  be  our  de- 
sire and  endeavour  that  they  may  be  sanctified/or 
him. 

4.  He  offered  sacrifice  for  them,  both  to  atone  for 
the  sins  he  feared  they  had  been  guilty  of  in  the 
days  of  their  feasting,  and  to  implore  for  them  mercy 
to  pardon,  and  grace  to  prevent,  the  debauching  of 
their  minds,  and  corrupting  of  their  manners,  by 
the  liberty  they  had  taken,  and  to  preserve  their 
piety  and  purity. 

For  he,  with  mournful  eyes,  had  often  spy'd, 
Scatter'd  on  Pleasure's  siiiooih  but  Ireach'rous  tide, 
The  sfwils  of  virtu(;overpower'd  by  sense, 
And  floating  wrecks  of  ruiii'd  innocence. 

Sir  R.  Bl^ckmorg. 

Job,  like  Abraham,  had  an  altar  for  his  family, 
on  which,  it  is  likely,  he  offered  sacrifice  daily;  but, 
on  this  extraordinary  occasion,  he  oflfered  more 
sacrifices  than  usual,  and  with  more  solemnity,  ac- 
cording to  the  number  of  them  all,  one  for  each 
child.  Parents  should  be  particular  in  their  ad- 
dresses to  God  for  the  several  branches  of  their 
family;  "For  this  child  I  prayed,  according  to  its 
particular  temper,  genius,  and  condition;"  to  which 
the  prayers,  as  well  as  the  endeavours,  must  be  ac- 
commodated. 

When  these  sacrifices  were  to  be  offered,  (1.)  He 
rose  early,  as  one  in  care  that  his  children  might  not 
lie  long  under  guilt,  and  as  one  whose  heart  was 
upon  his  work,  and  his  desire  towards  it  (2. )  He  re- 
quired his  children  to  attend  the  sacrifice,  that  they 
might  join  with  him  in  the  prayers  he  offered  with 
the  sacrifice,  that  the  sight  of  the  killing  of  the 
sacrifice  might  humble  them  much  for  their  sins, 
for  which  they  deserved  to  die,  and  the  eight  of  the 
offering  of  it  up  might  lead  them  to  a  Mediator. 
This  serious  work  would  help  to  make  them  seri- 
ous again,  after  the  days  of  their  gaiety. 

Lastly,  Thus  he  did  continually;  not  only  when- 
ever an  occasion  of  this  kind  recurred,  for  he  that  is 
washed,  needs  to  wash  his  feet:  (John,  xiii.  10.)  the 
acts  of  repentance  and  faith  must  be  often  renewed, 
because  we  often  repeat  our  transgressions;  but,  all 
days,  every  day,  he  offered  up  his  sacrifices,  was 
constant  to  his  devotions,  and  did  not  omit  them 
any  day.  The  occasional  exercises  of  religion  will 
not  excuse  us  from  those  that  are  stated.  He  that 
serves  God  uprightly  will  serve  him  continually. 

6.  Now  there  was  a  day  when  the  sons 
of  God  came  to  present  themselves  before 
the  Lord,  and  Satan  came  also  among 
tliem.  7.  And  the  Lord  said  unto  Satan, 
Whence  comest  thou?  Then  Satan  an- 
swered the  Lord,  and  said.  From  going  to 
and  fro  in  the  earth,  and  from  walking  up 
and  down  in  it  8.  And  the  Lord  said 
unto  Satan,  Hast  thou  considered  my  ser- 
vant Job,  that  there  is  none  like  him  in 
the  earth,  a  perfect  and  an  upright  man, 
one  that  feareth  God,  and  escheweth  evil  ? 
9.  Then  Satan  answered  the  Lord,  and 
said,  Doth  Job  fear  Gk)d  for  nought?     10. 


Hast  not  thou  made  a  hedge  about  him,  and 
about  his  house,  and  about  all  that  he  lialli 
on  eveiy  side  ?  Thou  hast  blessed  the  work 
of  his  hands,  and  his  substance  is  increased 
in  the  land:  11.  But  put  forth  thy  hand 
now,  and  touch  all  that  he  hath,  and  he 
will  curse  thee  to  thy  face.  12.  And  the 
LoKD  said  unto  Satan,  Behold,  all  that  he 
hath  is  in  thy  power;  only  upon  himself 
put  not  forth  thy  hand.  So  Satan  went 
forth  from  the  presence  of  the  Lord. 

Job  was  not  only  so  rich  and  great,  but  withal  so 
wise  and  good,  and  had  such  an  interest  both  in 
heaven  and  earth,  that  one  would  think  the  moun- 
tain of  his  prosperity  stood  so  strong,  that  it  could 
not  be  moved;  but  here  we  have  a  thick  cloud  ga- 
thering over  his  head,  pregnant  with  a  horrible 
tempest  We  must  never  think  ourselves  secure 
from  storms,  while  we  are  in  this  lower  region. 

Before  we  are  told  how  his  troubles  surprised  and 
seized  him  here  in  this  visible  world,  we  are  here 
told  how  they  were  concerted  in  the  world  of  spirits; 
that  the  De\  il  having  a  great  enmity  to  Job  for  his 
eminent  piety,  begged  and  obtained  leave  to  tor- 
ment him.  It  does  not  at  all  derogate  from  the 
credibility  of  Job's  story  in  general,  to  allow  that 
this  discourse  between  God  and  Satan,  in  these 
verses,  is  parabolical,  like  that  of  Micaiah,  (1  Kings 
xxii.  19,  &c. )  and  an  allegory  designed  to  represent 
the  malice  of  the  Devil  against  good  men,  and  the 
divine  check  and  restraint  that  malice  is  under. 
Only  thus  much  further  is  intimated,  that  the  af- 
fairs of  this  earth  are  very  much  the  subject  of  the 
counsels  of  the  unseen  world.  That  world  is  dai  k 
to  us,  but  we  lie  very  open  to  it 
Now  here  we  have, 

I.  Satan  among  the  sons  of  God,  (v.  6. )  an  ad- 
versary  (so  Satan  signifies)  to  God,  to  men,  to  all 
good.  He  thrust  himself  into  an  assembly  of  the 
sons  of  God,  that  came  to  firesent  themselves  before 
the  Lord.  This  means,  either,  1.  A  meeting  of  the 
saints  on  earth.  Professors  of  religion,  in  the  patri- 
archal age,  were  called  sons  of  God;  (Gen.  vi.  2.) 
they  had  then  their  religious  assemblies,  and  stated 
times  for  them.  The  king  came  in  to  see  his  guests; 
the  eye  of  God  was  on  all  present:  but  there  was  a 
serpent  in  paradise,  a  Satan  among  the  sons  of 
God;  when  they  come  together,  he  is  among  them 
to  distract  and  disturb  them,  stands  at  their  right 
hand  to  resist  them;  the  Lord  rebuke  thee,  Satan.' 
Or,  2.  A  meeting  of  the  angels  in  heaven;  they  arc 
the  sons  of  God,  ch.  xxxviii.  7.  They  came  to  give 
an  accountof  their  negociations  on  earth,  and  to  re- 
ceive new  instructions.  Satan  was  one  of  them 
originally;  but  how  art  thou  fallen,  O  Lucifer! 
He  shall  no  more  stand  in  that  congregation;  yet 
he  is  here  represented  as  coming  among  them, 
either  summoned  to  appear  as  a  criminal,  or  con- 
nived at,  for  the  present,  though  an  intruder. 

II.  His  examination,  how  he  came  thither;  {v. 
7.)  The  Lord  said  unto  Satan,  Whence  comest 
thou?  He  knew  very  well  whence  he  came,  and 
with  what  design  he  came  thither;  that,  as  the 
good  angels  came  to  do  good,  he  came  for  a  per- 
mission to  do  hurt;  but  he  would,  by  calling  him  to 
an  account,  show  him  that  he  was  under  check 
and  control.  Whence  comest  thou?  He  asks  this, 
1.  As  wondering  what  brought  him  thither,  h 
Saul  among  the  prophets?  Satan  among  the  sons  of 
God?  Yes,  for  he  transforms  himself  into  an  angel 
of  light,  (2  Cor.  xi.  13,  14.)  and  would  seem  rne 
of  them.  Note,  It  is  possible  that  a  man  may  he 
a  child  of  the  Devil,  and  yet  be  foimd  in  the  asscm 


14 


JOB,  I. 


blies  of  the  sons  of  God  in  this  world,  and  there 
may  pass  undiscovered  by  men,  and  yet  be  chal- 
lenged by  the  all-seeing  God;  Friend,  how  earnest 
thou  in  hither?  Or,  2.  As  inquiring  what  he  had 
been  doing  before  he  came  thither:  the  same  ques- 
tion was  perhaps  put  to  the  rest  of  them  that  pre- 
sented themselves  before  the  Lord,  "  Whence  came 
youi"'  We  are  accountable  to  God  for  all  our 
haunts,  and  all  the  ways  we  traverse. 

III.  The  account  he  gives  of  himself,  and  the 
tour  he  had  made.  I  come  (says  \i€)frQm  going  to 
and  fro  on  the  earth.  1.  He  could  not  pretend  he 
had  been  doing  any  good,  could  give  no  such  ac- 
count of  himself  as  the  sons  of  God  could,  who 
presented  themselves  before  the  hord,  who  came 
from  executing  his  orders,  serving  the  interest  of 
his  kingdom,  and  ministering  to  the  heirs  of  salva- 
tion. 2.  He  would  not  own  he  had  been  doing  any 
hurt;  that  he  had  been  drawing  men  from  their 
allegiance  to  God,  deceiving  and  destroying  souls; 
no,  I  have  done  no  wickedness,  Prov.  xxx.  20.  7'hy 
servant  went  no  whither.  In  saying  that  he  had 
walked  to  and  fro  through  the  earth,  he  intimates 
that  he  had  kept  himself  within  the  bounds  allotted 
him,  and  had  not  transgressed  his  tether;  for  the 
dragon  is  cast  out  into  the  earth,  (Rev.  xii.  9.)  and 
not  yet  confined  to  his  place  of  torment.  While  we 
are  on  this  earth,  we  are  within  his  reach;'  and 
with  so  much  subtlety,  swiftness,  and  industry,  does 
he  penetrate  into  all  the  corners  of  it,  that  we  can- 
not be  in  any  place  secure  from  his  temptations.  3. 
He  yet  seems  to  give  some  representation  of  his 
own  character.  (1.)  Perhaps  it  is  spoken  proudly, 
and  with  an  air  of  haughtiness,  as  if  he  were  indeed 
the  firince  of  this  world,  as  if  the  kingdoms  of  the 
world  and  the  glory  of  them  were  his,  (Luke  iv.  6.) 
and  he  had  now  been  walking  in  circuit  through  his 
own  territories.  (2.)  Perhaps  it  is  spoken  fretfully, 
and  with  discontent;  he  had  been  walking  to  and 
fro,  and  could  find  no  rest,  but  was  as  much  a 
fugitive  and  a  vagabond  as  Cain  in  the  land  of  Nod. 
(3.)  Perhaps  it  is  spoken  carefully;  "  I  have  been 
haid  at  work,  going  to  and  fro,"  or  (as  some  read 
it)  "searching  about  in  the  earth;"  really  in  quest 
of  an  opportunity  to  do  mischief.  He  walks  about 
seeking  whom  he  may  devour.  It  concerns  us 
therefore  to  be  sober  and  vigilant. 

IV.  The  question  God  puts  to  him  concerning 
Job,  {y.  8.)  Hast  thou  considered  my  serxmnt  Job? 
As  when  we  meet  with  one  that  has  been  in  a  dis- 
tant place,  where  we  have  a  friend  we  dearly  love, 
we  are  ready  to  ask,  "You  have  been  in  such  a 
place;  pray  did  you  see  my  friend  there?"  Observe, 

1.  How  honourably  God  speaks  of  Job;  he  is  my 
servant.  Good  men  are  God's  servants,  and  he  is 
pleased  to  reckon  himself  honoured  in  their  ser- 
vices, and  that  they  are  to  him  for  a  name  and  a 
firaise,  (Jer.  xiii.  l\.)  and  a  ci-own  of  glory,  Isa. 
Ixxxii.  3.  "Yonder  is  my  servant  Job;  there  is  none 
like  him,  none  I  value  like  him;  of  all  the  princes 
and  potentates  of  the  earth,  one  such  saint  as  he  is 
worth  them  all:  none  //^e  Ajtm  for  uprightness  and 
serious  piety;  many  do  well,  but  he  excellvth  them 
all;  there  is  not  to  be  found  such  great  faith,  no  not 
in  Israel."  Thus  Christ,  long  after  held  up  the 
centurion  and  the  woman  of  Canaan,  who  were 
both  of  them,  like  Job,  strangers  to  that  common- 
wealth. The  saints  glory  in  God;  Who  is  like  thee 
among  the  gods?  And  he  is  pleased  to  glory  in 
them;  Who  is  like  Israel  among  the  people?  So 
here,  none  like  Job,  none  in  the  earth,  that  state  of 
imperfection;  those  in  heaven  do  indeed  far  out- 
shine him ;  those  who  are  least  in  that  kingdom  are 
erreater  than  he;  but  on  earth  there  is  none  his  like. 
There  is  none  like  him  in  that  land:  so  some  good 
men  are  the  glory  of  their  country. 

2.  How  closely  he  gi\  es  to  Satan  this  good  cha- 


racter of  Job,  Hast  thou  set  thy  heart  on  my  ser 
vant  Job?  Designing  hereby,  (1.)  To  aggravate 
the  apostasy  and  misery  of  that  wicked  spirit; 
"How  unlike  him  art  thou!"  Note,  The  holiness 
and  happiness  of  the  saints  are  the  shame  and  tor- 
nient  ot  the  Devil  and  the  Devil's  children.  (2.) 
I'o  answer  the  Devil's  seeming  boast  of  the  interest 
he  had  in  this  earth;  "  I  have  been  walking  to  and 
fro  in  it,"  says  he,  "  and  it  is  all  my  own;  all  flesh 
have  corrupted  their  way;  they  all  sit  still,  and  are 
at  rest  in  their  sins,"  Zech.  i.  10,  11.  "  Nay  hold," 
saith  God,  "Job  is  my  faithful  servant."  Satan 
may  boast,  but  he  shall  not  triumph.  (3.)  To  an- 
ticipate his  accusations,  as  if  he  had  said,  "Satan, 
I  know  thine  errand,  thou  art  come  to  inform 
against  Job;  but  hast  thou  considered  him?  Does 
not  his  unquestionable  character  give  thee  the  lie?" 
Note,  God  knows  all  the  malice  of  the  Devil  and 
his  instruments  against  his  servants;  and  we  have 
an  Advocate  ready  to  appear  for  us,  even  before  we 
are  accused. 

V.  The  Devil's  base  insinuation  against  Job,  in 
answer  to  God's  encomium  of  him.  He  cannot 
deny  but  that  Job  feared  God,  but  suggests  that  he 
was  mercenary  in  his  religion,  and  therefore  a  hy- 
pocrite, {v.  9.)  Doth  Job  fear  God  for  naught? 
Observe,  1.  How  impatient  the  Devil  was  of  hear- 
ing Job  praised,  though  it  was  God  himself  that 
praised  him.'  Those  are  like  the  Devil,  who  cannot 
endure  that  any  body  should  be  praised  but  them- 
selves, but  grudge  at  the  just  share  of  reputation 
others  have,  as  Saul,  (1  Sam.  xviii.  5,  &c.)  and  the 
Pharisees,  Matth.  xxi.  15.  2.  How  much  at  a  loss 
he  was  for  something  to  object  against  him;  he 
could  not  accuse  him  of  any  thing  that  was  bad, 
and  therefore  charges  him  with  by-ends  in  doing 
good.  Had  the  one  half  of  that  been  true,  which 
his  angry  friends,  in  the  heat  of  dispute,  charged 
him  with,  {ch.  xv.  4. — xxii.  5.)  Satan  would,  no 
doubt,  have  brought  it  against  him  now;  but  no 
such  thing  could  be  alleged,  and  therefore,  3.  See 
how  slily  he  censures  him  as  a  hypocrite;  not  as- 
serting that  he  was  so,  but  only  asking,  "  Is  he  not 
so  ?"  This  is  the  common  way  of  slanderers,  to 
suggest  that,  by  way  of  query,  which  yet  they  have 
no  reason  to  think  is  true;  whisperers,  backbiters! 
Note,  It  is  not  strange  if  those  that  are  approved 
and  accepted  of  God,  be  unjustly  censured  by  the 
Devil  and  his  instruments;  if  they  are  otherwise 
unexceptionable,  it  is  easy  to  charge  them  with 
hypocrisy,  as  Satan  charged  Job,  and  they  have  no 
way  to  clear  themselves,  but  patiently  to  wait  for 
the  judgment  of  God.  As  there  is  nothing  we 
should  dread  more  than  being  hypocrites,  so  there 
is  nothing  we  need  dread  less  than  being  called  and 
counted  so  without  cause.  4.  How  unjustly  he  ac- 
cuses him  as  mercenary,  to  prove  him  a  hypocrite. 
It  was  a  great  truth  that  Job  did  not  fear  God  for 
naught;  he  got  well  by  it,  for  godliness  is  great 
gain:  but  it  was  a  falsehood  that  he  would  not  have 
feared  God  if  he  had  not  got  this  by  it,  as  the  event 
proved.  Job's  friends  charged  him  with  hypocrisy, 
because  he  was  greatly  afflicted;  Satan,  because  he 
greatly  prospered.  It  is  no  hard  matter  for  those 
to  calumniate  that  seek  an  occasion.  It  is  not  mer- 
cenary to  look  at  the  eternal  recompense,  in  our 
obedience;  but  to  aim  at  temporal  advantages  in 
our  religion,  and  to  make  it  subservient  to  that,  is 
spiritual  idolatry,  worshipping  the  creature  more 
than  the  Creator,  and  is  likely  to  end  in  a  fatal 
apostasy;  men  cannot  long  serve  God  and  mam- 
mon. 

VI.  The  complaint  Satan  made  of  Job's  prospe- 
rity, v.  10.  Observe,  1.  What  God  had  done  for 
Job.  He  had  ])rotected  him,  made  a  hedge  about 
him,  for  the  defence  of  his  peiSon,  his  family,  and 
all  his  possessions.     Note,  God's  peculiar  people 


JOB,  I. 


]5 


are  taken  under  his  special  protection,  they  and  all 
that  belong  to  them;  divine  grace  makes  a  hedge 
about  their  spiritual  life,  and  divine  providence 
about  their  natural  life,  so  they  are  safe  and  easy. 
He  had  prospered  him,  not  in  idleness  or  injustice, 
(the  Devil  could  not  accuse  him  of  them,)  but  in 
the  way  of  honest  diligence;  TAou  hast  blessed  the 
luork  of  his  handsj  without  that  blessing,  be  the 
hands  ever  so  strong,  ever  so  skilful,  the  work  will 
not  prosper;  but  with  that,  his  substance  is  wonder- 
fully increased  in  the  land:  the  blessing  of  the 
Lord  makes  rich;  Satan  himself  owns  it.  2.  What 
notice  the  Devil  took  of  it,  and  how  he  improved 
it  against  him.  The  Devil  speaks  of  it  with  \  exa- 
tion;  I  see  thou  hast  made  a  hedge  about  him, 
round  about;  as  if  he  had  walked  it  round,  to  see 
if  he  could  spy  ever  a  gap  in  it,  for  him  to  enter  in 
at,  to  do  him  a  mischief;  but  he  was  disappointed; 
it  was  a  complete  hedge.  The  wicked  one  saw  it, 
and  was  grieved,  and  argued  against  Job,  that  the 
only  reason  why  he  served  God  was,  because  God 
prospered  him.  "  No  thanks  to  him  to  be  true  to 
the  government  that  prefers  him,  and  to  serve  a 
Master  that  pays  him  so  well. " 

VII.  The  proof  Satan  undertakes  to  give  of  the 
hypocrisy  and  mercenariness  of  Job's  religion,  if  he 
might  but  have  leave  to  strip  him  of  his  wealth. 
•'  Let  it  be  put  to  this  issue,"  says  he,  v.  11.  "  make 
him  poor,  frown  upon  him,  turn  thine  hand  against 
him,  and  then  see  where  his  religion  will  be;  touch 
what  he  has,  and  it  will  appear  what  he  is.  If  he 
curse  thee  not  to  thy  face,  let  me  never  be  believed, 
but  posted  for  a  false  accuser.  Let  me  perish,  if  he 
curse  thee  not."  So  some  supply  the  imprecation, 
which  the  Devil  himself  modestly  concealed;  but 
the  profane  swearers  of  our  age  impudently  and 
daringly  speak  out.  Observe,  1.  How  slightly  he 
speaks  of  the  affliction  he  desired  that  Job  might 
be  tried  with;  "Do  but  touch  all  that  he  has,  do 
but  begin  with  him,  do  but  threaten  to  make  him 
poor;  a  little  cross  will  change  his  tone."  2.  How 
spitefully  he  speaks  of  the  impression  it  would  make 
upon  Job.  "  He  will  not  only  let  fall  his  devotion, 
but  turn  it  into  an  open  defiance;  not  only  think 
hardly  of  thee,  but  even  curse  thee  to  thy  face." 
The  word  translated  curse  is  barac,  the  same  that 
ordinarily  and  originally  signifies  to  bless;  but 
cursing  God  is  so  impious  a  thing,  that  the  holy 
language  would  not  admit  the  name:  but  that, 
where  the  sense  requires  it,  it  must  be  so  under- 
stood, is  plain  from  1  Kings  xxi.  10- 'IS.  where  the 
word  is  used  concerning  the  crime  charged  on  Na- 
both,  that  he  did  blaspheme  God  and  the  king. 

Now,  (1.)  It  is  likely  that  Satan  did  think  that 
Job,  if  impoverished,  would  renounce  his  religion, 
and  so  disprove  his  profession,  and  if  so,  (as  a 
learned  gentleman  has  observed  in  his  Mount  of 
Sfiirits,)  Satan  had  made  out  his  own  universal  em- 
pire among  the  children  of  men.  God  declared  Job 
the  best  man  then  living:  now,  if  Satan  can  prove 
him  a  hypocrite,  it  will  follow  that  God  had  not  one 
faithful  servant  among  men,  and  that  there  was  no 
such  thing  as  true  and  sincere  piety  in  the  world, 
but  religion  was  all  a  sham,  and  Satan  was  king  de 
facto — in  fact,  over  all  mankind.  But  it  appeared 
that  the  Lord  knows  them  that  are  his,  and  is  not 
deceived  in  any.  (2.)  However,  if  Job  should  re- 
tain his  religion,  Satan  would  have  the  satisfaction 
to  see  him  sorely  afflicted:  he  hates  good  men,  and 
delights  in  their  griefs,  as  God  has  fileasure  in  their 
prosfierity. 

VIII.  The  permission  God  gave  to  Satan  to  afflict 
Job  for  the  trial  of  his  sincerity.  Satan  desired 
God  to  do  it.  Put  forth  thy  hand  now.  God 
allowed  him  to  do  itj  {y.  12.)  "All  that  he  has 
it  i?i  thy  hand;  make  the  trial  as  sharp  as  thou 
canst,  do  thy  worst  at  him."    Now,  (1.)  It  is  mat- 


ter of  wonder  that  God  should  give  Satan  such  a 
permission  as  this,  should  deliver  the  soul  of  hi*: 
turtle-dove  into  the  hand  of  the  adversary,  such  a 
lamb  to  such  a  lion;  but  he  did  it  for  his  own  glory,. 
the  honour  of  Job,  the  explanation  of  Providence, 
and  the  encouragement  of  his  afflicted  people  in  ah 
ages;  to  make  a  case,  which,  being  adjudged,  might 
be  a  useful  precedent.  He  suffered  Job  to  be  tried, 
as  he  suffered  Peter  to  be  sifted;  but  took  care  that 
his  faith  should  not  fail,  (Luke  xxii.  32.)  and  then 
the  trial  of  it  was  found  unto  praise,  and  honour, 
and  glory,  1  Pet.  i.  7.  But,  (2.)  It  is  matter  of 
comfort  that  God  has  the  Devil  in  a  chain.  Rev. 
XX.  1.  He  could  not  afflict  Job  without  leave  from 
God  first  asked  and  obtained,  and  then  no  further 
than  he  had  leave;  "  Only  upon  himself  put  not 
forth  thine  hand;  meddle  not  with  his  body,  but 
only  with  his  estate. "  It  is  a  limited  power  that  the 
Devil  has;  he  has  no  power  to  debauch  men,  but 
what  they  give  him  themselves,  nor  power  to  afflict 
men,  but  what  \s  given  him  from  above. 

Lastly,  Satan's  departure  from  this  meeting  of 
the  sons  of  God.  Before  they  broke  up,  Satan  went 
forth  (as  Cain,  Gen.  iv.  16.)  from  the  presence  of 
the  Lord;  no  longer  detained  before  him  (as  Doeg 
was,  1  Sam.  xxi.  7. )  than  until  he  had  accomplished 
his  malicious  purpose.  He  went  forth,  1.  Glad 
that  he  had  gained  his  point;  proud  of  the  permis- 
sion he  had  to  do  mischief  to  a  good  man ;  and,  2. 
Resolved  to  lose  no  time,  but  speedily  to  put  his 
project  in  execution:  he  went  forth  now,  not  to  go 
to  and  fro,  rambling  through  the  earth,  but,  with  a 
direct  course,  to  fall  upon  poor  Job,  who  is  care- 
fully going  on  the  way  of  his  duty,  and  knows  no- 
thing of  the  matter.  What  passes  between  good 
and  bad  spirits  concerning  us,  we  are  not  aware. 

1 3.  And  there  was  a  day  when  his  sons 
and  his  daughters  were  eating  and  drinking 
wine  in  their  eldest  brother's  house:  14. 
And  there  came  a  messenger  unto  Job, 
and  said,  The  oxen  were  plowing,  and  the 
asses  feeding  beside  them;  15.  And  the 
Sabeans  fell  ujioii  them,  and  took  them 
away;  yea,  they  have  slain  the  servants 
with  the  edge  of  the  sword;  and  I  only  am 
escaped  alone  to  tell  thee.  1 6.  While  he 
ivas  yet  speaking,  there  came  also  another, 
and  said,  The  fire  of  God  is  fallen  from 
heaven,  and  hath, burnt  up  the  sheep,  and 
the  servants,  and  consumed  them;  and  I 
only  am  escaped  alone  to  tell  thee.  1 7. 
While  he  was  yet  speaking,  there  came 
also  another,  and  said.  The  Chaldeans 
made  out  three  bands,  and  fell  upon  the 
camels,  and  have  carried  them  away,  yea 
and  slain  the  servants  with  the  edge  of  tfia 
sword ;  and  I  only  am  escaped  alone  to  tell 
thee.  1 8.  While  he  was  yet  speaking,  ther^ 
came  also  another,  and  said,  Thy  sons  and 
thy  daughters  were  eating  and  drinking  wine 
in  their  eldest  brother's  house:  19.  And, 
behold,  there  came  a  great  wind  from  the 
wilderness,  and  smote  the  four  corners  of 
the  house,  and  it  fell  upon  the  young  men, 
and  they  are  dead ;  and  I  only  am  escaped 
alone  to  tell  thee. 

We  have  here  a  particular  account  of  Job's 
troubles : 


16 


JOB,  J. 


I.  Satan  brought  them  upon  him  on  the  very  day  | 
that  his  children  began  their  course  of  feasting,  at  . 
their  ddest  brother's   house,    {y.    13.)    where,  he  i 
having  (we  may  suppose)  the  double  portion,  the 
entertainment  was  the  richest  and  most  plentiful. 
The  whole  family,  no  doubt,  was  in  perfect  repose, 
and  all  were  easy,  and  under  no  apprehension  of 
trouble,  now  when  they  revived  this  custom  ;  and 
this  time  Satan  chose,  that  the  trouble,   coming 
now,  might  be  the  more  grievous ;  The  night  of  my 
tileasure  has  he  turned  into  fear,  Isa.  xxi.  4. 

II.  They  all  come  upon  him  at  once  ;  while  one 
messenger  of  evil  tidings  was  speaking,  another 
came  ;  and,  before  he  had  told  his  story,  a  third, 
and  a  fourth,  followed  immediately.  Thus  Satan, 
by  the  divine  permission,  ordered  it,  1.  That  there 
might  appear  a  more  than  ordinary  displeasure  of 
God  against  him  in  his  troubles,  and  by  that  he 
might  be  exasperated  against  Divine  Providence, 
as  if  it  were  resolved,  right  or  wrong,  to  rum  him, 
and  not  give  him  time  to  speak  for  himself.  2. 
That  he  might  not  have  leisure  to  consider  and  re- 
collect himself,  and  reason  himself  into  a  gracious 
submission,  but  might  be  overwhelmed  and  over- 
powered by  a  complication  of  calamities.  It  he 
have  not  room  to  pause  a  little,  he  will  be  apt  to 
speak  in  haste,  and  then,  if  ever,  he  will  curse  his 
God.  Note,  The  children  of  God  are  often  \\\  hea- 
viness, through  manifold  temptations:  deep  calls  to 
deep,  waves  and  billows,  one  upon  the  neck  of 
another.  Let  one  affliction  therefore  quicken  and 
help  us  to  prepare  for  another ;  for  how  deep  so- 
ever we  have  drunk  of  the  bitter  cup,  as  long  as  we 
are  in  this  world,  we  cannot  be  sure  that  we  have 
drunk  our  share,  and  that  it  will  finally  pass  from 
us.  3.  They  took  from  him  all  that  he  had,  and 
made  a  full  end  of  his  enjoyments.  The  detail  of 
his  losses  answers  to  the  foregoing  inventory  of  his 
possessions. 

(1.)  He  had  500  yoke  of  oxen,  and  500  she-asses, 
and  a  competent  number  of  servants  to  attend  them; 
and  all  those  he  lost  at  once,  v.  14,   15.     The  ac- 
.  count  he  has  of  this,  lets  him  know,  [1.]  That  it 
was  not  through  any  carelessness  of  his  servants, 
for  then  his  resentment  might  have  spent  itself 
upon  them:  the  oxen  were  ploughing,  not  playing, 
and  the  asses  not  suffered  to  stray,  and  so  taken  up 
as  waifs,*  but  feeding  beside  them,  under  the  ser- 
vants' eye,  each  in  their  place  ;  and  they  that  pass- 
ed by,  we  may  suppose,  blessed  them,  and  said, 
God  speed  the  plough.     Note,  All  our  prudence, 
care,   and  diligence,  cannot  secure  us  from  afflic- 
tion, no  not  from  those  affli^^ti  ns  which  are  com- 
monly owing  to  imprudence  and  negligence.     Ex- 
cept the  Lord  keep  the  city,  the  watchman,  though 
ever  so  wakeful,  wakes  but  in  vain;  yet  it  is  some 
comfort  under  a  trouble,  if  it  found  us  in  the  way  of 
our  duty,   and  not  in  any  by-path.     '2.'\  That  it 
was  through  the  wickedness  of  his  neighbours  the 
Sabeans,  a  sort  of  robbers,  perhaps,  that  lived  by 
spoil  and  plunder ;  they  carried  off  the  oxen  and 
asses,    and   slew  the   servants  that  faithfully  and 
bravely  did  their  best  to  defend  them,  and  one  only 
escaped,  not  in  kindness  to  him  or  his  master,  but 
that  Job  might  have  the  certain  intelligence  of  it 
by  an  eye-witness,  before  he  heard  it  by  a  flying 
report,  which  would  have  brought  it  upon  him  gra- 
dually.    We  have  no  reason  to  suspect  that  either 
Job  or  his  servants  had  given  any  provocation  to 
these  Sabeans  to  make  this  inroad;  but  Satan  put  it 
into  their  hearts  to  do  it,   to  do  it  now,  and  so 
gained  a  double  point,  for  he  made  both  Job  to 
suffer,  and  them  to  sin.     Note,  When  Satan  has 
God's  permission  to  do  mischief,  he  will  not  want 
mischievous  men  to  be  his  instruments  in  doing  it, 

•  Good*  found,  but  unclaimed. Ed. 


for  he  is  a  spirit  that  works  in  the  children  of  dia 
obedience. 

(2.)  He  had  seven  thousand  sheep,  and  shep- 
herds that  kept  them;  and  all  those  he  lost  at  the 
same  time  by  lightning,  x;.  16.  Job  was  perhaps, 
in  his  own  mind,  ready  to  reproach  the  Sabeans, 
and  fly  out  against  them  for  their  injustice  and 
cruelty,  when  the  next  news  immediately  directs 
him  to  look  upward;  Thejire  of  God  is  fallen  from 
heaven.  As  thunder  is  his  voice,  so  lightning  is  his 
tire:  but  this  was  such  an  extraordinary  lightning, 
and  levelled  so  directly  against  Job,  that  all  his 
sheep  and  shepherds  were  not  only  killed,  but  con- 
sumed, by  it  at  once,  and  one  shepherd  only  left 
alive  to  carry  the  news  to  poor  Job.  The  Devil, 
aiming  to  make  him  curse  God  and  renounce  his 
religion,  managed  this  part  of  the  trial  very  art- 
fully, in  order  thereunto.  [1.]  His  sheep,  with 
which  especially  he  used  to  honour  God  in  sacri- 
fice, were  all  taken  from  him,  as  if  God  were  angry 
at  his  offerings,  and  would  punish  him  in  those  very 
things  which  he  had  employed  in  his  service. 
Having  misrepresented  Job  to  God  as  a  false  ser- 
vant, in  pursuance  of  his  old  design  to  set  Heaven 
and  earth  at  variance,  he  here  misrepresented  God 
to  Job  as  a  hard  Master,  who  would  not  protect 
those  flocks  out  of  which  he  had  so  many  burnt- 
offerings:  this  would  tempt  Job  to  say.  It  is  in  vain 
to  serve  God.  [2.]  The  messenger  called  the 
lightning  the  fire  of  God,  (and  innocently  enough,) 
but  perhaps  Satan  thereby  designed  to  strike  into 
his  mind  this  thought,  that  God  was  turned  to  be 
his  enemy,  and  fought  against  him,  which  was 
much  more  grievous  to  him  than  all  the  insults  of 
the  Sabeans.  He  owns,  {ch.  xxxi.  23.)  that  de- 
struction from  God  was  a  terror  to  him.  How 
terrible  then  were  the  tidings  of  this  destruction, 
which  came  immediately  from  the  hand  of  God! 
Had  the  fire  from  heaven  consumed  the  sheep  upon 
the  altar,  he  might  have  construed  it  into  a  token 
of  God's  favour;  but  the  fire  consuming  them  in 
the  pasture,  he  could  not  but  look  upon  it  as  a 
token  of  God's  displeasure:  there  had  not  been  the 
like  since  Sodom  was  burned. 

(3.)  He  had  three  thousand  camels,  and  servants 
tending  them;  and  he  lost  them  all  at  the  same  time 
by  the  Chaldeans,  who  came  in  three  bands,  and 
drove  them  away,  and  slew  the  servants,  v.  17.  If 
the  fire  of  God,  which  fell  upon  Job's  honest  ser- 
vants, who  were  in  the  way  of  their  duty,  had  fallen 
upon  the  Sabean  and  Chaldean  robbers  who  were 
doing  mischief,  God's  judgments  therein  would 
have  been,  like  the  great  mountains,  evident  and 
conspicuous;  but  when  the  way  of  the  wicked 
prospers,  and  they  carry  off  their  booty,  when  just 
and  good  men  are  suddenly  cut  off,  God's  righte- 
ousness is  like  the  great  deep,  the  bottom  of  which 
we  cannot  find,  Ps.  xxxvi.  6. 

(4.)  His  dearest  and  most  valuable  possessions 
were  his  ten  children;  and  to  conclude  the  tragedy, 
news  is  brought  him,  at  the  same  time,  that  they 
were  killed,  and  buried  in  the  ruins  of  the  house  in 
which  they  were  feasting,  and  all  th^  servants  th^t 
waited  on  them,  except  one  that  came  express  with 
the  tidings  of  it,  v.  18,  19.  This  was  the  greatest 
of  Job's  losses,  and  which  could  not  but  go  nearest 
him;  and  therefore  the  Devil  reserved  it  for  the 
last,  that,  if  the  other  provocations  failed,  thl.s 
might  make  him  curse  (iod.  Our  children  arc 
pieces  of  ourselves;  it  is  very  hard  to  part  with 
them,  and  touches  a  good  man  in  as  tender  a  pail 
as  any  other.  But  to  part  with  them  all  at  once, 
and  for  them  to  be  all  cut  off  in  a  moment,  who  had 
been  so  many  years  his  cares  and  hopes,  went  to 
the  quick  indeed.  [1.]  They  all  died  together, 
and  not  one  of  them  was  left  alive.  David,  though 
jl  a  wise  and  good  man,  was  very  much  discomposco 


JOB,  I. 


17 


bv  the  death  of  one  son  ;  how  hard  then  did  it  bear 
ii;ioii  poor  Job,  who  lost  them  all,  and,  in  one  mo- 
ment, was  written  childless!  [2.]  They  died  sud- 
denly: had  they  been  taken  away  by  some  lingering 
disease,  he  had  had  notice  to  expect  their  death, 
and  prepare  for  the  breach;  but  this  came  upon 
him  without  giving  him  any  warning.  [3.]  They 
(lied  when  they  were  feasting  and  making  merry: 
hifd  they  died  suddenly,  when  they  were  praying, 
he  might  the  better,  have  borne  it;  he  would  have 
hoped  that  ;eath  had  found  them  in  a  good  frame, 
if  their  blood  had  been  mingled  with  their  sacri- 
fices;  but  to  have  it  mingled  with  their  feast,  where 
he  himself  used  to  be  jealous  of  them,  that  they 
had  sinned,  and  cursed  God  in  their  hearts — to 
have  that  day  come  upon  them  at  unawares,  like  a 
thief  in  the  night,  when  perhaps  their  heads  were 
overcharged  with  surfeiting  and  drunkenness;  this 
could  not  but  add  much  to  his  grief,  considering 
what  a  tender  concern  he  always  had  for  his  chil- 
dren's souls,  and  that  they  were  now  out  of  the 
reach  of  the  sacrifices  he  used  to  offer,  according 
to  the  number  of  them  all.  See  how  all  things 
came  alike  to  all.  Job's  children  were  constantly 
prayed  for  by  their  father,  and  lived  in  love  one 
with  another,  and  yet  came  to  this  untimely  end. 
[4.  ]  They  died  by  a  wind  of  the  Devil's  raising, 
who  is  the  firince  of  the  fiower  of  the  air;  (Eph.  ii. 
2.)  but  it  was  looked  upon  to  be  an  immediate  hand 
of  God,  and  a  token  of  his  wrath.  So  Bildad  con- 
strued it;  {ch.  viii.  4.)  Thy  children  have  sinned 
against  him,  and  he  has  cast  them  aivay  in  their 
transgressions.  [5.  ]  They  were  taken  away  when 
he  had  most  need  of  them  to  comfort  him  under  all 
his  other  losses.  Such  miserable  comforters  are  all 
creatures;  in  God  only  we  have  a  present  help  at 
all  times. 

20.  Then  Job  arose,  and  rent  his  mantle, 
and  shaved  his  head,  and  fell  down  upon 
the  ground,  and  worshipped,  21.  And  said. 
Naked  came  I  out  of  my  mother's  womb,  and 
naked  shall  I  return  thither:  the  Lord  gave, 
and  the  Lord  hath  taken  away;  blessed 
be  the  name  of  the  Lord.  22.  In  all  this 
fob  sinned  not,  nor  charged  God  foolishly. 

The  Devil  had  done  all  lie  desired  leave  to  do 
against  Job,  to  provoke  him  to  curse  God;  he  had 
touched  all  he  had,  touched  it  with  a  witness;  he 
whom  the  rising  sun  saw  the  richest  of  all  the  men 
in  the  east,  before  niglit  was  poor  to  a  proverb.  If 
his  riches  had  been,  as  Satan  insinuated,  the  only 
principle  of  his  religion,  now  that  he  had  lost  his 
nches,  he  had  certainly  lost  his  religion;  but  the 
account  we  have,  in  these  verses,  of  his  pious  de-  ! 
portment  under  his  affliction,  sufficiently  proved  the  i 
Devil  a  liar,  and  Job  an  honest  man.      '  I 

I.   He  conducted  himself  like  a  man,  under  his 
afflictions;  not  stupid  and  senseless,  like  a  stock  or 
stone,  not  unnatural  and  unaffected  at  the  death  of  i 
his  children  and  servants;  no,   (v.   20.)  he  arose,  I 
and  rent  his  mantle,  and  shaved  his  head,   which  I 
were  the  usual  expressions  of  great  sorrow,  to  show 
that  he  Avas  sensible  of  the  hand  of  the  Lord  that  | 
was  gone  out  against  him;  yet  he  did  not  break  out ; 
into  any  indecencies,  nor  discover  any  extravagant  | 
passion;  he   did  not  faint  away,   but  arose,    as  a  j 
champion  to  the  combat;  he  did  not,  in  a  heat,  ! 
throw  off  his  clothes,  but  very  gravely,  in  confor- 
mity to  the  custom  of  the  country,  rent  his  mantle, 
his  cloke,  or  outer  garment;  he  did  nr  t  passionately 
tear  his  hair,  but  deliberately  shaved  his  head;  by 
<tll  which  it  appeared  that  he  kept  his  temper,  and 
bravelv  maintained  the  possession  and  repose  of  his 

Vol.  hi— C 


own  soul,  in  the  midst  of  all  these  provocations. 
The  time  when  he  began  to  show  his  teelings  is  ob- 
servable; it  was  not  till  he  heard  of  tlie  death  t.f 
his  children,  and  then  he  arose,  then  he  rent  liis 
mantle.  A  worldly  unbelieving  heart  would  have 
said,  "  Now  that  the  meat  is  gone,  it  is  well  that 
the  mouths  are  gone  too;  now  that  there  are  nj 
portions,  it  is  well  that  there  are  no  children;"  but 
Job  knew  better,  and  would  have  been  tliankful  it 
Providence  had  spared  his  children,  though  he  had 
had  little  or  nothing  for  them,  for  Jehovah-jireh, 
the  Lord  ivill  firovide.  Some  expositors,  remem- 
bering that  it  was  usual  with  the  Jews  to  rend  tlieir 
clothes  when  they  heard  blasphemy,  conjtctuiv 
that  Job  rent  his  clothes  in  a  holy  indignation  at  the 
blasphemous  thoughts  which  Satan  now  cast  iiiti; 
his  mind,  tempting  him  to  curse  God. 

II.  He  conducted  himself  like  a  wise  and  gocd 
m.m,  under  his  alfiiction,  like  a  fierfect  and  ufx- 
right  man,  and  one  that  feared  God,  and  eschewed 
the  evil  of  sin  more  than  that  of  outward  trouble. 

1.  He  humbled  himself  under  the  hand  of  God, 
and  accommodated  himself  to  the  pro-,  idences  he 
was  under,  as  one  that  knew  Ixpw  to  want  as  well 
as  how  to  abound.  When  God  called  to  weeping 
and  mourning,  he  wept  and  mourned,  rent  hin 
mantle,  and  shaved  his  head;  and,  as  one  tliat 
abased  himself  even  to  tlie  dust  before  God,  he  fell 
down  upon  the  ground,  in  a  penitent  sense  of  s!ii, 
and  a  patient  submission  to  the  will  of  God,  accepting 
the  punishment  of  his  iniquity.  Hereby  lie  sliowed 
his  sincerity;  {or hypocrites  cry  nottvhen  God  binds 
them.  Job  xxxvi.  13.  Hereby  he  prepared  himself 
to  get  good  by  the  affliction;  for  how  can  we  im- 
prove the  grief  which  we  will  not  feel? 

2.  He  composed  himself  with  quieting  conside- 
rations, that  he  might  not  be  disturbed,  and  put  cut 
of  the  possession  of  his  own  soul  by  these  events: 
he  reasons  from  the  common  state  of  human  life, 
which  he  describes  with  application  to  liimscif; 
JVa/ced  came  I  (as  others  do)  out  of  my  mother's 
ivomb,  and  naked  shall  I  return  thither,  into  the 
lap  of  our  common  mother,  the  earth;  as  the  child, 
when  it  is  sick  or  weary,  lays  its  head  in  its  m.o- 
ther's  bosom.  Dust  we  were  in  our  original,  and 
to  dust  we  return  in  our  exit,  (Gen.  iii.  19.)  to  the 
earth  as  we  were;  (Eccl.  xii.  7.)  7iaked  shall  we 
return  thither,  wlience  we  were  taken,  namely,  to 
the  clay,  Job  xxxiii.  6.  St.  Paul  refers  to  this  of 
Job,  (1  Tim.  vi.  7.)  We  brought  nothing  of  this 
world  s  goods  into  the  world,  but  have  them  from 
others;  and  /;  is  certain  that  we  caji  carry  nothing 
out,  but  must  leave  them  to  others.  We  come  into 
the  world  naked;  not  only  unarmed,  but  unclothed, 
helpless,  shiftless,  not  so  well  covered  and  fenced 
as  other  creatures.  The  sin  we  are  born  in,  makes 
us  naked  to  our  shame,  in  the  eves  of  the  lioly  Uod. 
We  go  out  of  the  world  naked;  the  bodv  doesj 
though  the  sanctified  soul  gees  clothed,  2  Cor.  v. 
3.  Death  strips  us  of  all  our  enjoyments;  clothing 
can  neither  warm  nor  adorn  a  dead  body.  This 
consideration  silenced  Job  under  all  his  losses.  (1. ) 
He  is  but  where  he  was  at  first;  be  looks  upon 
himself  only  as  naked,  not  maimed,  not  wounded: 
he  was  himself  still  his  own  man,  when  nothins; 
else  was  his  own,  and  therefore  but  reduced  to  his 
first  condition.  Xemo  tam  pauper  potest  esse  quam 
-natus  est — A'o  one  can  be  so  poor  as  he  was  wheri 
born.  Mm.  Felix.  If  we  are  impoverished,  we 
are  not  wronged,  nor  much  hurt,  for  we  are  but  as 
we  were  born.  (2.)  He  is  but  where  he  must  hfve 
been  at  last,  and  is  oniv  unclothed,  or  unloaded  • 
rather,  a  little  sooner  than  he  expected.  If  v.-e 
put  off  our  clothes  before  Ave  go  to  bed,  it  is  some 
inconvenience,  but  it  may  be  the  better  borne  when 
it  is  near  bed-time. 

3.  He  gave  glory  to  God,  and  expressed  himself 


JOB,  II. 


■ipon  this  occasion  with  a  great  veneration  for  the 
Divine  Providence,  and  an  awful  submission  to  its 
disposals;  we  may  well  rejoice  to  find  Job  in  this 
good  frame,  because  this  was  the  very  thing  upon 
which  the  trial  of  his  integrity  was  put,  though  he 
did  not  know  it.  Tiie  Devii  said  that  he  would, 
under  his  affliction,  curse  God;  but  he  blessed  him, 
,ir>d  so  proved  himself  an  honest  man. 

(1.)  He  acknowledged  the  hand  of  God  both  in 
the  mercies  he  had  formerly  enjoyed,  and  in  the  af- 
flictions he  was  now  exercised  with:  The  Lord 
gave,  and  the  Lord  halh  taken  awaij.  We  must 
own  the  Divine  Providence,  [!•]  I^^  all  our  comforts. 
God  gave  us  our  being,  made  us,  and  7iot  we  our- 
selves, gave  us  our  wealth;  it  was  not  our  own  inge- 
nuity or  industry  that  enriched  us,  but  God's  blessing 
on  our  cares  and  endeavours;  he  gave  us  power  to 
get  wealth;  not  only  made  the  creatures  for  us,  but 
bestowed  upon  us  our  share.  [2.  ]  In  all  our  crosses. 
The  same  that  gave,  hath  taken  away;  and  may  he 
not  do  what  he  will  with  his  own?  See  how  he  looks 
above  instruments,  and  keeps  his  eye  upon  the  First 
Cause;  he  does  not  say,  "  The  Lord  gave,  and  the 
Sabeans  and  Chaldeans  have  taken  away;  God  made 
me  rich,  and  the  Devil  has  made  me  poor;"  but, 
"He  that  gave,  has  taken;"  and,  for  that  reason, 
he  is  dumb,  and  has  nothing  to  say,  because  God 
did  it:  He  that  gave  all,  may  take  which  and  when, 
how  and  how  much,  he  pleases.  Seneca  could 
argue  thus,  Abstulit,  ned  et  dedit — He  took  away, 
but  he  also  gave;  and  Epictetus  excellently,  (cap. 
15. )  "  When  thou  art  deprived  of  any  comfort,  sup- 
pose a  child  taken  away  by  death,  or  a  part  of  thy 
estate  lost,  say  not  uTr^Afo-*  uutc — I  have  lost  it;  but, 
iTTsSaiKA — I  have  restored  it  to  the  right  owner.  But 
thou  wilt  object,  (says  he)  xaxo?  I  ucpsAc^sno; — He  is 
a  bad  man,  that  has  robbed  me;  to  which  he  an- 
swers, Ti  J'i  <roi  y.iAii — What  is  it  to  thee,  by  what 
hand  he  that  gives  re?nands  what  he  gave? 

(2.)  He  adores  God  in  both.  When  all  was  gone, 
he  fell  down  and  worshipped.  Note,  Afflictions 
must  not  divert  us  from,  but  quicken  us  to,  tlie  ex- 
ercise of  religion.  Weeping  must  not  hinder  sow- 
ing, nor  hinder  worshipping.  He  eyed  not  only  the 
hand  of  God,  but  the  name  of  God,  in  his  afflicti' ms, 
and  gave  glory  to  that.  Blessed  be  the  name  of  the 
Lord.  He  has  still  the  same  great  and  good  thoughts 
of  God  that  ever  he  had,  and  is  as  foi'ward  as  ever 
to  speak  tliem  forth  to  his  praise;  and  can  find  in 
his  heart  to  bless  (iod,  even  when  he  takes  away, 
as  well  as  when  he  gives.  Thus  must  we  sijig  both 
of  mercy  and  judgment,  Ps.  ci.  1.  [1.]  He  blesses 
God  f.ir  what  was  gi\  en,  though  now  it  was  taken 
'tway.  When  our  comforts  are  i-emoved  from  us, 
we  must  thank  God  that  ever  we  had  them,  and 
had  them  so  much  longer  than  we  deserved.  Na\', 
[2.]  He  adores  God,  even  in  taking  away,  and  gives 
him  honour  by  a  willing  submission;  nay,  he  gi\es 
him  thanks  for  good  designed  him  by  his  afflic- 
tions, for  gracious  supports  under  his  afflictions, 
and  the  believing  hopes  he  had  of  a  happy  issue  at 
last. 

Lasthi,  Here  is  the  honourable  testimony  which 
tlie  Hoi}'  Ghost  gives  to  Job's  constancy  and  good 
conduct  imder  his  afflictions.  He  passed  his  trials 
with  applause,  v.  22.  In  all  this.  Job  did  not  act 
amiss,  for  he  did  not  attribute  folly  to  God,  nor  in 
the  leust  reflect  iqjon  his  wisdom  in  what  he  had 
done.  Discontent  and  imixitience  do,  in  effect, 
charge  God  with  folly.  Against  the  workings  of 
these,  therefore,  Job  carefully  watched;  and  so 
must  we,  acknowledging,  that  as  Ciod  has  done 
light,  but  we  have  done  wickedly,  soCiod  has  done 
wisely,  but  we  have  done  foolishly,  very  foolishly. 
They  who  not  only  keep  their  temper  under  crosses 
:ind  provocations,  but  keep  up  good  thoughts  of  God 
and  sweet   communion   with   liim,  whetlier  thci:-  J 


praise  be  of  men  or  no,  it  will  be  of  God,  as  Job  here 
was. 

CHAP.  II. 

We  left  Job  honourably  acquitted,  upon  a  fair  trial  be 
tween  God  and  Satan  concerning  him.  Satan  had  leave 
to  touch,  to  touch  and  take,  all  he  had,  and  was  confi- 
dent that  he  would  then  curse  God  to  his  (ace;  but,  oi> 
the  contrary,  he  blessed  him,  and  so  he  was  proved 
an  honest  man,  and  Satan  a  false,  accuser.  Now,  one 
would  have  thought,  this  had  been  conclusive,  and  that 
Job  should  never  have  had  his  reputation  called  in  ques- 
tion again:  but  Job  is  known  to  be  armour  of  proof,  and 
therefore  is  here  set  up  for  a  mark,  and  brought  upon  his 
trial,  a  second  time.  I.  Satan  moved  for  another  trial 
which  should  touch  his  bone  and  his  flesh,  v.  1  .  .  5.  II. 
God,  for  holy  ends,  permits  it,  v.  6.  III.  Satan  smites 
him  with  a  very  painful  and  loathsome  disease,  v.  7,  8. 
IV.  His  wife  tempts  him  to  curse  God,  but  he  resists  the 
temptation,  v.  9,  10.  V.  His  friends  come  to  condole 
with  him,  and  to  comfort  him,  v,  II . .  13.  And  in  this 
that  good  man  is  set  forth  for  an  example  of  suffering 
affliction  and  of  patience. 

1 .  A  G  A I N  there  was  a  day  when  the  sons 
XjL  of  God  came  to  present  themselves 
before  the  Lord,  and  Satan  came  also 
among  them  to  present  himself  before  the 
Lord.  2.  And  the  Lord  said  unto  Satan, 
From  whence  comest  thou?  And  Satan  an- 
swered the  Lord,  and  said.  From  going  to 
and  fro  in  the  earth,  and  from  walking  up 
and  down  in  it.  3.  And  the  Lord  said  un- 
to Satan,  Hast  thou  considered  my  servant 
Jol),  that  there  is  none  like  him  in  the  earth, 
a  perfect  and  an  upright  man,  one  that  fear- 
eth  God,  and  escheweth  evil?  and  still  he 
holdeth  fast  his  integrity,  although  thou 
movedst  me  against  him,  to  destroy  him 
without  cause.  4.  And  Satan  ans\^ered 
the  Lord,  and  said.  Skin  for  skin;  yea,  all 
that  a  man  hath  will  he  give  for  his  life:  5. 
But  put  forth  thy  hand  now,  and  touch  his 
bone  and  his  flesh,  and  he  will  curse  thee  to 
thy  face.  6.  And  the  Lord  said  unto  Sa- 
tan, Behold,  he  is  in  thy  hand  ;  but  save  his 
life. 

Satan,  that  sworn  enemy  to  God  and  all  good 
men,  is  here  pushing  forward  his  malicious  prose- 
cution of  Job,  whom  he  hated  because  God  loved 
liim,  and  did  all  he  could  to  separate  between  him 
and  his  God,  to  sow  discord,  and  make  mischief, 
l)etween  them,  urging  God  to  afflict  him,  and  then 
urging  him  to  blaspheme  God.  One  would  ha\  e 
thought  that  he  had  enough  of  his  former  attempt 
upon  Job,  in  which  he  was  so  shamefully  baffled  and 
disa])pointcd;  but  malice  is  restlessj  the  Devil  and 
his  instruments  are  so.  They  that  calumniate  good 
people,  and  accuse  them  falsely,  will  have  their 
saying,  though  the  evidence  to  the  contrary  i^e  ever 
so'plain  and  full,  and  they  ha\  e  been  cast  in  the 
issue  which  they  themselves  have  put  it  upon.  Sa- 
tan will  have  Jciij's  cause  called  over  I'.gain.  The 
malicious,  unreasonable,  importunity  of  that  great 
persecutor  of  the  saints  is  represented,  (Rev.  xii. 
10.)  by  his  accusing  them  before  our  God  day  and 
night,  still  repeating  and  urging  that  against  them 
wiiich  lias  been  many  a  time  answered:  so  did  Satan 
here  accuse  Job  day  after  day.     Here  is, 

I.  The  court  set,  and  the  prosecutor,  or  accuser, 
making  his  appearance,  {v.  1,  2.)  as  before,  ch.  i. 
6,  7.  The  angels  attended  (}od's  throne,  and  Satan 


JOB,  II. 


19 


among  them.  One  would  have  expected  him  to 
come  and  confess  his  mahce  against  Job,  and  his 
mistake  concerning  "him;  to  cry,  Peccavi — /  have 
done  wrong,  for  belying  one  whom  God  spake  well 
of,  and  to  beg  pardon;  but,  instead  of  that,  he  comes 
with  a  further  design  against  Job.  He  is  asked  the 
same  question  as  before,  IV/ience  contest  thou?  And 
answers  as  before,  From  going-  to  and  fro  in  the 
earth;  as  if  he  liad  been  doing  no  harm,  though  he 
had  been  abusing  that  good  man. 

II.  Tiie  Judge  himself  of  counsel  for  the  accused, 
and  pleading  for  him;  \y.  3.)  "  Haul  thou  consider- 
ed my  servant  Job  better  than  thou  didst,  and  art 
thou  now  at  length  convinced  that  he  is  a  faithful 
servant  of  n)ine,  a  fierfect  and  an  upright  man;  for 
thou  seest  he  still  holds  fust  his  integrity'^"  This  is 
now  added  to  his  character  as  a  further  achieve- 
ment; intitead  of  letting  go  his  religion,  and  cursing 
God,  he  holds  it  faster  than  ever,  as  that  which  he 
has  now  more  than  (U'dinary  occasion  for;  he  is  the 
same  in  adversity  that  he  was  in  prosperity,  and 
rather  better,  and  more  hearty  and  li\eiy  in  bless- 
ing God  th:m  ever  he  was,  and  takes  root  the  faster 
for  being  thus  shaken.  See,  1.  How  Satan  is  con- 
demned for  his  allegations  against  Job;  Ihou  mov- 
edst  me  against  him,  as  an  accuser,  to  destroy  him 
ivi'.hout  cause.  Or,  "Thou  in  vam  movedst  me 
to  destrov  him,  for  I  will  never  do  that."  Good 
men,  when  they  are  cast  down,  are  not  destroyed, 
2  Cor.  iv.  9.  How  well  is  it  for  us,  that  neither 
men  nor  de\  ils  ar*^  to  be  our  judges,  for  perhaps 
they  would  destroy  us,  right  or  wrong;  but  our 
Judgment  pr.  ceedsfrom  the  Lord,  whose  judgment 
never  errs,  or  is  biassed.  2.  How  Job  is  commend- 
ed for  his  constancy,  notwithstanding  the  attacks 
made  upon  him;  "  Still  he  holds  fast  his  integrity, 
as  his  weapon,  and  thou  canst  not  disarm  him;  as 
his  treasure,  and  thou  canst  not  rob  him  of  tliat; 
nay,  thine  endeavours  to  do  it  make  him  hold  it  the 
faster;  instead  of  losing  ground  by  the  temptation, 
he  gets  ground."  God  speaks  of  it  with  wonder, 
and  pleasure,  and  something  of  triumph  in  the  pow- 
er of  his  own  grace;  Still  he  holds  fast  his  integrity. 
Thus  the  trial  of  Jdb's  faith  was  found  to  his  p7-aise 
and  honour,  1  Pet.  i.  7.  Constancy  crowns  integrit3% 

III.  The  accusation  further  prosecuted,  v.  4. 
What  excuse  can  Satan  make  for  the  failure  of  his 
former  attempt?  What  can  he  say  to  palliate  it, 
when  he  had  been  so  very  confident  that  he  should 
gain  his  point?  Why,  truly,  he  has  this  to  sny,. Skin 
for  skin,  and  all  that  a  man  has,  will  he  give  for 
his  life.  Something  of  truth  there  is  in  this,  that 
self-iove  and  self-preservation  are  very  powerful 
commanding  principles  in  the  hearts  of  men.  Men 
love  themselves  better  than  their  nearest  relations, 
even  their  children,  that  are  pieces  of  themsehes; 
will  not  only  venture,  but  give,  their  estates  to  save 
their  lives.  All  account  life  sweet  and  precious, 
and  while  they  are  themselves  in  health  and  at  ease, 
they  can  keep  trouble  from  their  hearts,  whatever 
they  lose.  We  ought  to  make  a  good  use  of  this 
consideration,  and  while  God  continues  to  us  our 
life  and  health,  and  the  use  of  our  limbs  and  senses, 
we  should  the  more  patiently  bear  the  loss  of  other 
comforts.     See  Matth.  vi.  25. 

But  Satan  grounds  upon  this  an  accusation  of  Job, 
slily  representing  him,  1.  As  unnatural  to  those 
about  him,  and  one  that  laid  not  to  heart  the  death' 
of  his  children  and  servants,  nor  cared  how  many 
of  them  had  their  skins  (as  I  may  say)  stripped 
over  their  ears,  so  long  as  he  slept  in  a  whole  skin 
himself  As  if  he  that  was  so  tender  of  his  chil- 
dren's souls,  could  be  careless  of  their  bodies,  and, 
like  the  ostrich,  hardened  against  his  young  ones, 
as  though  they  were  not  his.  2.  As  wholly  selfish, 
and  minding  nothing  but  his  own  ease  and  safetv,  as 
if  his  religion  made  him  sour,  and  morose,  and  ill- 


natured.     Thus  are  the  ways  and  people  of  Gf;d 
often  misrepresented  by  the  De\  il  and  his  agents. 

IV.  A  challenge  given  to  make  a  further  trial  cf 
Job's  integrity;  {v.  5.)  "  Put  forth  thine  hand  nor.', 
(for  I  find  ?ny  hand  too  short  to  reach  him,  and  t'.o 
weak  to  hurt  him,)  and  touch  his  bone  and  his  fiesh, 
(that  is  with  him  the  only  tender  part,  7nake  him 
sick  with  smiting  him,  Mic."  \i.  13.)  and  then,  I  dare 

'  say,  he  will  curse  thee  to  thy  face,  and  let  go  his  in- 
tegrity."   Satan  knew  it,  and  we  find  it  by  expe- 
rience, that   nothing  is  more   likely  to  luftle  the 
thoughts,  and  put  the  mind  into  disorder,  than  ac  ute 
;  pain  and  distemper  of  body.     There  is  no  disputing 
I  against  sense.     St.  Paul  himself  had  mucli  ado  to 
[  bear  a  thorn  in  the  flesh,  nor  could  he  have  borne  it 
without  special  grace  from  Christ,  2  Cor.  xii.  7,  9. 

V.  A  permission  granted  to  Satan  to  make  this 
trial,  V.  6.  Satan  would  have  had  God  put  forth  his 
hand  and  do  it;  but  he  afflicts  not  willingly,  nor 
takes  any  pleasure  in  grieving  the  children  of  men, 
much  less  his  own  children;  (Lam.  iii.  33.)  and 
therefore,  if  it  must  be  done,  let  Satan  do  it,  who 
delights  in  such  work:  He  is  in  thine  hand,  do  thy 
worst  with  him;  (but  with  a  proviso  and  limitation;) 
only  save  his  life,  or  his  soul.  Afflict  him,  but  not 
to  death.  Satan  hunted  for  the  precious  life,  would 
ha\  e  taken  that  if  he  might,  in  hopes  that  dying 
agonies  would  have  forced  Job  to  curse  his  God; 
but  (iod  had  mercy  in  store  for  Job  after  this  trial, 
and  therefore  he  must  survive  it,  and,  however  he 
is  afflicted,  must  have  his  life  given  him  for  a  prey. 
If  Ciod  did  not  chain  up  the  roaring  lion,  how  soon 
would  he  de\our  us!  As  far  as  he  permits  the  wrath 
of  "Satan  and  wicked  men  to  proceed  against  his 
people,  he  will  make  it  turn  to  his  praise  and  their's, 
and  the  7'e?nainder  thereof  he  will  restrain,  Ps. 
Ixxvi.  10.  "  Save  his  soul,"  that  is,  "his  reason;" 
(so  some;)  "preserve  to  him  the  use  of  that,  for, 
otherwise,  it  will  be  no  fair  trial;  if,  in  his  delirium, 
he  should  curse  God,  that  will  be  no  disproof  of  his 
integrity.  It  would  be  the  language  not  of  his  heart, 
but  of  his  distemper.'" 

Job,  in  being  thus  maligned  by  Satan,  ^yas  a  type 
of  Christ,  the  first  prophecy  of  whom  was,  that  Sa- 
tan should  bruise  his  heel,  (Gen.  iii.  15.)  and  so  he 
was  foiled,  as  in  Job's  case.  Satan  tempted  him  to 
let  go  his  integrity,  his  adoption;  (Matth.  iv.  6.) 
If  thou  be  the  Son  of  God.  He  entered  into  the 
heart  of  Judas  who  betrayed  Christ,  and  (some 
think)  with  his  terrors  put  Christ  into  his  agony  in 
the  garden.  He  had  permission  to  touch  his  bone 
and  his  flesh,  without  exception  of  his  life,  because 
by  dying  he  was  to  do  that  which  Job  could  not  do; 
destroy  him  that  had  the  power  of  death,  that  is  the 
Devil. 

7.  So  went  Satan  forth  from  the  presence 
of  the  Lord,  and  smote  Job  with  sore  boils, 
from  the  sole  of  his  foot  unto  his  crown.  8. 
And  he  took  him  a  potsherd  to  scrape  him- 
self withal ;  and  he  sat  down  among  the 
ashes.  9.  Then  said  his  wife  unto  him,  Dost 
thon  still  retain  thine  integrity?  Curse  God, 
and  die.  10.  But  he  said  unto  her,  Thou 
speakest  as  one  of  the  foohsh  women  speak- 
eth.  What!  shall  we  receive  good  at  the 
hand  of  God,  and  shall  we  not  receive  evil? 
In  all  this  did  not  Job  sin  with  his  lips. 

The  Devil,  having  got  leave  to  tear  and  Wurry 
poor  Job,  presently  fell  to  work  with  him,  as  a  tor- 
mentor first,  and  then  a- tempter.  His  own  children 
he  tempts  first,  and  draws  them  to  sin,  and  after- 
ward torments,  when  thereby  he  has  brought  then* 


20 


JOB,  11. 


t:>  ruin;  but  this  child  of  God  he  tormented  with  af- 
Riction,  and  then  tempted  to  make  a  bad  use  of 
his  affliction.  That  which  he  airted  at,  was,  to 
make  Job  curse  God;  now  here  we  are  told  what 
course  he  took  both  to  move  him  to  it,  and  mo\e  it 
to  him;  both  to  give  him  the  provocation,  else  it 
would  be  to  no  purpose  to  urge  him  to  it,  and  to  give 
him  the  information,  else  he  would  not  have  thought 
of  it:  thus  artfully  is  the  temptation  managed  with 
;iU  the  subtilty  of  the  old  serjDent,  who  is  here  play- 
ing the  same  game  against  Job  that  he  played 
;igainst  our  first  parents;  (Gen.  3.)  aiming  to  seduce 
lum  from  his  allegiance  to  his  God,  and  to  rob  him 
of  his  integrity. 

I.  He  provokes  him  to  curse  God,  by  smiting  him 
with  sore  boils,  and  so  making  him  a  burthen  to 
himself,  x<.  7,  8.  The  former  attack  was  extreme- 
ly violent,  but  Job  kept  his  ground,  bravely  made 
good  the  pass,  and  carried  the  day :  yet  he  is  still 
imt  girding  on  the  harness,  there  is  worse  behind; 
the  clouds  return  after  the  rain;  Satan,  by  the  di- 
vine permission,  follows  his  blow,  and  now  deep 
calls  unto  deep. 

1.  The  disease  was  very  grievous  with  which  Job 
WHS  seized;  S;itan  .s-mote  /ii?n  iv'uli  boils,  sore  boils, 
all  over  him,  from  head  to  foot;  with  an  evil  inflam- 
mation, so  some  render  it;  an  erysipelas,  perhaps, 
in  a  higher  degree.  One  boil,  v/hen  it  is  gathering, 
is  torrnent  enough,  and  gives  a  man  abundance  f  f 
pain  and  uneasiness.  What  a  condition  was  Job 
then  in,  that  had  boils  all  over  him,  and  no  part 
free,  and  those  of  as  raging  a  heat  as  the  De\  il  could 
make  them,  and,  as  it  were,  set  on  fire  of  hell  1  The 
small-pox  is  a  \ery  grievous  and  painful  disease, 
and  would  be  much  more  terrible  than  it  is,  but  that 
we  know  the  extremity  of  it  ordinarily  lasts  but  a 
few  days;  how  grievous  then  was  Job's  disease,  who 
was  sniitten  all  over  with  sore  boils  or  grievous  ul- 
cers, which  make  him  sick  at  heart,  put  him  to 
exquisite  torture,  and  to  spread  themselves  o\er 
him,  th.1t  he  could  lay  himself  no  way  for  any  ease. 
If  at  any  time  we  be  exercised  with  sore  and  griev- 
ous distempers,  let  us  not  think  ourselves  dealt  with 
any  otherwise  than  as  God  has  sometimes  dealt  with 
the  best  of  his  saints  and  servants.  We  know  not 
how  much  Satan  may  have  a  hand  (by  divine  per- 
mission) in  the  diseases  with  which  the  children  of 
men,  and  especially  the  children  of  God,  are  afflict- 
ed ;  what  infections  that  prince  of  the  air  may  spread, 
what  inflammations  may  come  from  that  fiery  ser- 
l)ent.  We  read  of  one  whom  Satan  had  bound  many 
vears,  Luke  xiii.  16.  Should  God  suffer  that  roar- 
ing lion  to  have  his  will  against  any  of  us,  how  mise- 
rable would  he  soon  make  us! 

2.  His  management  of  himself,  in  this  distemper, 
was  verv  strange,  i\  8. 

(1.)  Instead  of  healing  salves  he  took  a  potsherd, 
a  piece  of  a  broken  pitcher,  to  scrafie  himself  with- 
al: a  very  sad  pass  this  poor  man  was  come  to. 
When  a  man  is  sick  and  sore,  he  may  bear  it  the 
Ijetter,  if  he  be  well  tended  and  carefully  looked 
after:  many  rich,  people  have,  with  a  soft  and  ten- 
der hand,  charitably  ministered  to  the  poor  in  such 
•I  condition  as  this;  even  Lazarus  had  some  ease 
from  the  tongues  of  the  dogs  that  came  and  licked  his 
sores;  but  poor  Job  has  no  help  afforded  him.  [1.1 
Nothing  is  done  to  his  sores  but  what  he  does  himself, 
with  his  own  hands.  His  children  and  servants  are 
all  dead,  his  wife  unkind,  ch.  xix.  17.  He  has  not 
wherewithal  to  fee  a  physician,  or  surgeon;  and, 
which  is  most  sad  of  all,  none  of  those  he  had  for- 
merly been  kind  to  had  so  much  sense  of  honour 
and  gratitude  as  to  minister  to  him  in  his  distress, 
and  lend  him  a  hand  to  dress  or  wipe  his  running 
sores,  either  because  the  disease  was  loathsome 
.ind  noisome,  or  because  they  apprehended  it  to  be 
■nf'.-ctious.     Thus  it  was  in  the  former  days,  as  it 


will  be  in  the  last  days;  men  were  i  vers  of  their 
own  selves,  unthankful,  and  without  natural  affec- 
tion. [2.  ]  All  that  he  docs  to  his  sores  is,  to  scrape 
them;  they  are  not  bound  up  with  s(  ft  rags,  i,<  r 
mollified  with  ointment,  not  washed  or  kept  clean: 
no  healing  plasters  laid  on  them,  no  opiates,  no 
anodynes,  ministered  to  the  poor  patier.t,  to  alle- 
viate the  pain,  and  compose  him  to  rest,  nor  nay 
cordials  to  support  his  spirits;  all  the  operatic  n  is 
the  scraping  of  the  ulcers,  which,  when  they  a  ere 
come  to  a  head,  and  began  to  die,  made  his  h(  dy 
all  over  like  a  scurf,  as  is  usual  in  the  end  <f  ih'e 
small-pox.  It  would  ha\e  been  an  endless  iliing  to 
dress  his  boils  one  by  one,  he  therefore  res'hes 
thus  to  do  it  by  wholesale;  a  remedy  wh'ch  >•  ne 
would  think  as  bad  as  the  disease.  [3.]  He  h  ;S 
nothing  to  do  this  with  but  a  potsherd,  no  surgcu's 
instrument  proper  for  the  purpose,  but  tlu.t  which 
would  rather  rake  into  his  wounds,  and  add  to  his 
pain,  than  give  him  any  ease.  Pti^ple  that  are  sick 
and  sore,  have  need  to  be  under  the  discipline  and 
direction  of  others,  for  they  are  often  but  b;-.d 
managers  of  themselves. 

(2.)  Instead  of  reposing  himself  in  a  soft  and 
warm  bed,  he  sat  down  among  the  ashes.  Probably 
he  had  a  bed  left  him;  (for,  though  his  fields  were 
stripped,  we  do  not  find  that  his  house  was  burnt  or 
plundered;)  but  he  chose  to  sit  in  the  ashes,  either 
because  he  was  weary  of  his  bed,  or  because  he 
would  put  himself  into  the  place  and  posture  of  a 
penitent,  who,  in  token  of  his  self-abhorrence,  lay 
in  dust  and  ashes,  ch.  xlii.  6.  Isa.  Iviii.  5.  Jon.  iii.  6. 
Thus  did  he  humble  himself  under  the  mighty  hand 
of  God,  and  bring  his  mind  to  the  meanness  and 
poverty  of  his  condition.  He  complains,  {ch.  \ii.  5.) 
that  his  flesh  was  clothed  with  worms,  and  c/orfs  ' /' 
dust;  and  therefore  dust  to  dust,  ashes  to  ashes.  If 
God  lay  him  among  the  ashes,  there  he  will  con- 
tentedly sit  down;  a  low  spirit  becomes  low  circum- 
stances, and  will  help  to  reconcile  us  t"  them.  The 
Septuagint  reads  it,  He  sat  down  upon  a  dunghill 
without  the  city;  (which  is  commonly  said,  in  men- 
tioning this  story;)  but  the  original  says  no  mri-e 
than  that  he  sat  iyi  the  midst  of  the  ashes,  which  he 
might  do  in  his  own  house. 

II.  He  urges  him,  by  the  persuasions  of  his  own 
wife,  to  curse  God,  v.  9.  The  Jews  (who  covet 
much  to  be  wise  above  what  is  written)  say  that 
Job's  wife  was  Dinah,  Jacob's  daughter:  so  the 
Chaldee  paraphrase.  It  is  not  likely  that  she  was; 
but,  whoever  it  was,  she  was  to  him  like  Michal 
to  David,  a  scoffer  at  his  piety.  She  was  spared  to 
him,  when  the  rest  of  his  comforts  were  taken 
away,  for  this  piu'pose,  to  be  a  troubler  and  tempter 
to  him.  If  Satan  leaves  any  thing  that  he  has  per- 
mission to  take  away,  it  is  with  a  design  of  mischief. 
It  is  policy  to  send  his  temptations  by  the  hand  of 
those  tha*.  are  dear  to  us,  as  he  tempted  Adam  by 
Eve,  and  Christ  by  Peter.  We  must  therefore 
carefully  watch,  that  we  be  not  drawn  to  say  or  do 
a  wrong  thing  by  the  influence,  interest,  or  en- 
treaty, of  any,  no'  n<  t  those  for  whose  (;pini(^n  and 
favour  we  have  ever  so  great  a  \alue.  Observe 
how  strong  this  temptation  was, 

I.  She  banters  Job  for  his  constancy  in  his  reli- 
gion; "Dost  thou  still  retain  thine  integritij?  Art 
thou  so  verv  obstinate  in  thy  religion,  that  nothing 
will  cure  thee  of  it?  So  tame  and  shee]Msh,  as  thus 
to  truckle  to  a  God,  who  is  so  far  from  rewarding 
thy  services  with  marks  of  his  favour,  that  he 
seems  to  take  a  pleasure  in  making  thee  miserable, 
strips  thee,  and  scourges  thee,  without  any  provo- 
cation given?  Is  this  a  God  to  be  still  loved,  and 
blessed,  and  served?" 

Dost  thou  not  see  that  thy  drvolion's  vain? 

What  have  thy  pravei^  procur'd,  but  woe  and  paii,'' 

Hast  thou  not  yet  liiine  inl'rest  undeisuuid'' 

Perversely  righteous,  and  absurdly  jot  d"* 


JOB,  II 


21 


Those  painful  soros,  and  all  tliy  losses,  show 
Hiiw  Heaven  n -sards  ihi;  foolish  saiuls  below. 
Iiicuirigibly  pious  !  Can'!  thy  God 
Reform  lliy  siupiil  virtue  with  his  rod? 

Sir  R.  Blackmore. 

Thus  Satan  still  endeavours  to  draw  men  from 
God,  as  he  did  our  first  pai'cnts,  by  suggesting  hard 
thoughts  of  him,  as  one  that  envies  the  happiness, 
and  delights  in  the  misery,  of  his  creatures,  than 
which  nothing  is  more  false.  Another  artifice  he 
uses,  ;s,  to  drive  men  from  their  religion,  by  load- 
ing tliem  witli  scoffs  and  reproaches  i^M  their  ad- 
herence to  it:  we  have  reason  to  expect  it,  but  we 
arc  fools  if  we  heed  it:  our  Master  himself  has  un- 
dergone it,  we  sliall  be  abundantly  recompensed  for 
It,  and  with  much  more  reason  may  we  revnt  it 
upon  the  scoffers,  "  Are  you  such  fools  as  still  to 
retain  your  impiety,  when  you  might  diess  God, 
and  live?" 

2.  She  urges  him  to  renounce  his  religion,  to 
blaspheme  (iod,  set  him  at  defiance,  and  dare  him 
to  do  his  worst;  "  Curse  God,  and  die;  live  no 
longer  in  dependence  upon  Ciod,  wait  not  for  relief 
from  him,  ijut  be  tiiine  own  deliverer,  by  being 
thine  own  executioner,  end  thy  troubles  by  ending 
tliy  life,  better  die  once  than  be  always  dying  thus; 
th'iu  mayest  now  despair  of  having  any  help  from 
thy  God,  even  curse  him,  and  hang  thyself." 
These  are  two  of  the  blackest  and  most  horrid  of  all 
S  itan's  temptatijns,  and  yet  such  as  good  men  ha\  e 
sometimes  been  violently  assaulted  with:  nothing  is 
more  contrary  to  natural  conscience  than  blas- 
plieming  God,  nor  to  natural  sense  than  self-mur- 
der; therefv)re  the  suggestion  of  either  of  these  may 
well  be  suspected  to  come  immediately  from  Satan. 
Loi-d,  lead  us  not  into  temptation,  not  into  such, 
not  into  any,  temptation,  but  deliver  us  from  the 
evil  one. 

III.  He  bravely  resists  and  overcomes  the  temp- 
tation, V.  10.  He  soon  gave  her  an  answer,  (for 
Satan  spared  him  the  use  of  his  tongue,  in  hopes 
he  would  curse  God  with  it,)  which  showed  his 
constant  .resolution  to  cleave  to  God,  to  keep  his 
good  thoughts  of  him,  and  not  to  let  go  his  inte- 
grity. 

See,  1.  How  he  resented  the  temptations;  he 
was  indignant  at  having  such  a  thing  mentioned  to 
him;  "What!  Curse  God?  I  abhor  the  thought  of 
it;  get  thee  behind  me,  Satan."  In  other  cases. 
Job  reasoned  with  his  wife  with  a  great  deal  of 
mildness,  even  when  she  was  unkind  to  him;  (ch. 
xix.  17.)  /  entreated  her  for  the  children's  sake  of 
my  own  body.  But  when  she  persuaded  him  to 
curse  God,  he  was  much  displeased;  Thou  sp.eakest 
as  one  of  the  foolish  women  sfieaketh.  He  does  not 
call  her  a  fool,  and  an  atheist,  nor  does  he  break 
out  into  any  indecent  expressions  of  his  displeasure, 
as  those  who  are  sick  and  sore  are  apt  to  do,  and 
think  they  may  be  excused;  but  he  shows  her  the 
rvW  of  what  she  said,  that  she  spake  the  language 
<if  the  infidels  ;md  idolaters,  who,  when  they  are 
hard  hi  bestead,  fret  themselves,  and  curse  their  king 
and  their  God,  Isa.  viii.  21.  We  have  reason  to 
suppose,  that,  in  such  a  pious  household  as  Job  had, 
his  wife  was  one  that  had  been  well-affected  to  re- 
ligion, but  that  now,  when  all  their  estate  and  com- 
fort were  gone,  she  could  not  bear  the  loss  with 
that  temper  of  mind  that  Job  had;  but  that  she 
should  go  about  to  infect  his  mind  with  her  wretch- 
ed distemper,  was  a  great  provocation  to  him,  and 
he  could  not  forbear  thus  showing  his  resentment. 
Note,  (1.)  Those  are  angry  and  sin  not,  who  are 
angrr  only  at  sin,  and  take  a  temptation  as  the 
greatest  affront;  who  cannot  bear  them  that  are 
evil,  Rev.  ii.  2.  When  Peter  was  a  Satan  to  Christ, 
he  told  him  plainly.  Thou  art  an  offence  to  me.  (2. ) 
If  those  whom  we  think  wise  and  good,  at  any  time 
speak  that  which  is  foolish  and  bad,  we  O'lght  tore- 


prove  them  faithfully  for  it,  and  show  them  the  e\  ;i 
of  what  they  suy,  that  we  suffer  not  sin  upon  them. 
(3.)  Temptations  to  curse  God  ought  to  be  rejected 
with  the  greatest  abhonence,  and  not  so  much  as  to 
be  parleyed  with:  whoe\  er  persuades  us  to  tliat, 
must  be  looked  upon  as  our  enemy,  to  whom  if  we 
yield  it  is  at  our  peril.  Job  did  not  ciirseGnd,  and  then 
think  to  come  off  with  Adam's  excuse.  The  woman 
whom  thou  gavest  to  be  with  me,  she  persuaded  vie 
to  it,  (Gen.  iii.  12. )  which  had  in  it  a  tacit  reflection 
on  God,  his  ordinance,  and  providence;  no,  if  thou 
scornest,  if  thou  cursest,  thou  alone  shait  bear  it. 

2.  How  he  reasoned  against  the  temptation;  Shall 
•w  receive  good  at  the  hand  of  God,  and  shall  we 
noi,  receive  evil  also?  Those  whom  we  reprove,  we 
must  endeai^our  to  con\  ince;  and  it  is  no  hard  mat- 
ter to  give  a  reason  why  we  should  still  hold  fust 
our  integrity,  evei.  when  we  are  stripped  of  every 
thing  else.  He  considers  that  though  good  and 
evil  are  contraries,  yet  they  do  not  come  from  con- 
trary causes,  but  both  from  the  hand  of  God;  (Isa. 
xlv.  7.  Lam.  iii.  38.)  and  therefore  t'lat  in  both  we 
must  have  our  eye  up  unto  him,  with  cbankfulness 
for  the  good  he  sends,  and  without  fretfulnes*  at  the 
evil.     Observe  the  force  of  his  argument, 

(1.)  What  he  argiies /or;  not  only  the  bearing, 
but  the  receiving,  of  evil;  Shall  we  not  receive 
evil?  that  is,  [1.]  "  Shall  we  not  expect  to  receive 
it.''  If  God  give  us  so  many  good  things,  shall  we  be 
surprised,  or  think  it  strange,  if  he  sometimes 
afflict  us,  when  he  has  told  us  that  prosperity 
and  adversity  are  set  the  one  over-against  the 
other.?"  1  Pet.  iv.  12.  [2.]  "  Shall  we  not  set  our- 
selves to  receive  it  aright.'"  The  woi-d  signifies  to 
receive  as  a  gift,  and  denotes  a  pious  affection  and 
disposition  of  soul  under  our  afflictions,  neither 
despising  them  nor  fainting  under  tliem,  accounting 
them  gifts;  (Phil.  i.  29.)  accepting  them  as  punish- 
ments of  our  iniquity;  (Lev.  xxvi.  41.)  acquiescing 
in  the  will  of  God  in  them;  ("Let  him  do  with  me 
as  seemeth  him  good;")  and  accommodating  our- 
selves to  them,  as  those  that  know  how  to  want  as 
well  as  how  to  abound,  Phil.  iv.  12.  When  the 
heart  is  humbled,  and  weaned,  by  humbling  wean- 
ing providences,  then  we  receive  correction,  (Zech. 
iii.  2. )  and  take  up  our  cross. 

(2.)  What  he  argues/ro7«;  "  Shall  we  receive  so 
much  good  as  has  come'  to  us  from  the  hand  of  God, 
during  all  those  years  of  peace  and  prosperity  that 
we  have  lived;  and  shall  we  not  now  receive  evil, 
when  God  thinks  fit  to  lay  it  on  us.'"  Note,  The 
consideration  of  the  mercies  we  receive  from  God, 
both  past  and  present,  should  make  us  receive  our 
afflictions  with  a  suitable  disposition  of  spirit.  If 
we  receive  our  share  of  the  conmion  good  in  the 
seven  years  of  plenty,  shall  we  not  receive  or.r 
share  of  the  common  evil  in  the  years  of  famine.' 
Qui  sensit  commodum,  sentire  debet  et  onus — He 
who  feels  the  privilege,  should  prepare  for  the  pri- 
vation. If  we  have  so  much  that  pleases  us,  why 
should  we  not  be  content  with  that  which  pleases 
God.'  If  we  receive  so  many  comforts,  shall  we  not 
receive  some  afflictions,  which  will  serve  as  fi.ilsto 
our  comforts,  to  make  them  the  more  valuable;  (we 
are  taught  the  worth  of  mercies,  by  being  made  to 
want  them  sometimes;)  and  as  allays  to  our  com- 
forts, to  make  them  the  less  dangerous,  to  keep 
the  balance  e\  en,  and  to  prevent  our  being  liped  up 
above  measure?  2  Cor.  xii.  7.  If  we  receive  so 
much  good  for  the  body,  shall  we  not  receive  some 
good  for  the  soul;  that  is,  some  afflictions,  bv 
which  we  partake  of  God's  holiness;  (Heb.  xii. 
10.)  srimething  which,  by  saddening  the  coun- 
tenance, makes  the  heart  better.'  Let  murmuring, 
therefore,  as  well  as  boasting,  be  for  ever  ex- 
cluded. 
IV.  Thus,  in  a  good  measui-e,  Job  still  held  fast 


'22 


JOB,  II. 


his  integrity;  and  Satan's  design  against  him  was 
ilefeated.  In  all  this  did  not  Job  sm  with  his  lifis; 
he  not  only  said  this  well,  but  all  he  said,  at  this 
tinie,  was  under  the  go\ernnient  of  religion  and 
right  reason:  in  the  midst  of  all  these  grievances, 
he  did  not  speak  a  word  amiss;  and  we  have  no 
reason  to  think,  but  that  he  also  preserved  a  good 
temper  of  mind,  so  that  though  there  might  be 
some  stirrings  and  risings  of  corruption  in  his  heart, 
yet  grace  got  the  upper  hand,  and  he  took  care  that 
t:ie  root  of  bitterness  might  not  spring  up  to  trouble 
him,  Heb.  xii.  15.  The  abundance  of  his  heart 
was  for  God,  produced  good  things,  and  suppressed 
the  evil  that  was  there,  which  was  out-voted  by  the 
better  side.  If  he  did  think  any  evil,  yet  he  laid 
his  hand  ufion  his  mouth,  (Prov.  xxx.  "32.)  stifled 
the  evil  thouglit,  and  let  it  go  no  further;  by  which 
it  appeared,  not  only  that  he  had  true  grace,  bat 
that  It  was  strong,  and  victorious;  in  short,  that  he 
had  not  forfeited  the  cliai-acter  oi  ii/irrfcct  and  u/i- 
right  mail;  for  so  he  appears  to  be,  who,  in  tiie 
midst  of  sucl\  temptation,  offends  not  in  word, 
Jam.  iii.  2.     Ps.  x\ii.  3. 

1 1 .  Now  vvlieu  Job's  three  friends  lieard 
of  all  this  evil  that  was  come  upon  him, 
they  came  every  one  from  his  own  place ; 
Elipliaz  the  Temanite,  and  Biidad  the  Shu- 
hite,  and  Zophar  the  Naamathite:  for  they 
had  made  an  appointment  together  to  come 
to  mourn  with  him,  and  to  comfort  him. 
12.  And  when  they  lifted  up  their  eyes 
afar  off,  and  knew  him  not,  they  lifted  up 
their  voice  and  wept;  and  they  rent  every 
one  his  mantle,  and  sprinkled  dust  upon 
their  heads  toward  heaven.  13.  So  they 
sat  down  with  him  upon  the  ground  seven 
days  and  seven  nights,  and  none  spake  a 
word  unto  him :  for  they  saw  that  his  grief 
was  very  great. 

We  have  here  an  account  of  the  kind  visit  which 
Job's  three  friends  made  him  in  his  affliction.  The 
news  of  his  extraordinary  troubles  spread  into  all 
parts;  he  being  an  eminent  man,  both  for  greatness 
and  goodness,  and  the  circumstances  of  his  troubles 
being  very  uncommon.  Some,  who  were  his  ene- 
mies, triumphed  in  his  calamities;  (c/i.  xvi.  10. — 
xix.  18. — xxx,  1,  tfc.)  perhaps  they  made  ballads 
on  him:  but  his  friends  concerned  themselves  for 
him,  and  endeavoured  to  comfort  him;  a  friend 
loveth  at  all  times,  and  a  brother  is  born  for  adver- 
sity. Three  of  them  are  here  named,  {v.  11.) 
Eliphaz,  Biidad,  and  Zophar.  We  shall  meet  with 
a  fourth  after,  who,  it  should  seem,  was  present  at 
the  whole  conference,  namely,  Eliliu;  whether  he 
came  as  a  friend  of  Job,  or  only  as  an  auditor,  does 
not  appear:  these  three  are  said  to  be  hhfrierids, 
his  intimate  acquaintances,  as  David  and  Solomon 
had  each  of  them  one  in  their  court,  that  was  called 
the  king's  friend.  These  three  were  eminently 
wise  and  good  men,  as  appears  by  their  discourses; 
they  were  old  men,  very  old,  they  liad  a  great  re- 
putation for  knowledge,  and  much  deference  was 
paid  to  their  judgment,  ch.  xxxii.  6.  It  is  probable 
that  they  were  men  of  figure  in  their  country — 
princes,  or  heads  of  houses.     Now  observ  e, 

I.  That  Job,  in  his  prosperity,  had  contracted  a 
friendship  with  them:  if  they  were  his  equals,  yet 
he  had  not  that  jealousy  of  them;  if  his  inferiors, 
yet  he  had  not  that  disdain  of  them,  which  was  any 
hinderance  to  an  intimate  converse  and  correspon- 


dence with  them.  To  have  such  friends,  added 
more  to  his  happiness  in  the  day  of  his  prospent} , 
than  all  the  heads  of  cattle  he  was  master  of. 
Much  of  the  comfort  of  this  life  lies  in  acquaint- 
ance and  friendship  witli  those  that  are  prudent  and 
virtuous;  and  he  that  lias  a  few  such  friends,  ought 
to  value  them  highly.  Job's  three  friends  are  sup 
posed  to  be  all  of  them  of  the  posterity  of  Aijra 
ham,  which,  for  some  descents,  c  en  in  the  families 
that  were  shut  out  from  the  covenant  of  peculiarity, 
retained  some  good  fruits  of  that  pious  education 
which  the  father  of  the  faithful  gave  to  thi  se  under 
his  charge.  Eliphaz  descended  from  Tem  m,  the 
grandson  of  Esau;  (Gen.  xxx\i.  11.)  Biidad  i^it  is 
probable)  from  Shuah,  Abraham's  son  by  Keturah, 
Gen.  XXV.  2.  Zophar  is  thought  by  some  to  be  the 
same  wit.i  Zepho,  a  descendant  from  Esau,  Gen. 
xxx\i.  11.  The  preserving  of  so  much  wisdom  and 
piety  among  those  that  were  sti'angers  to  the  cove- 
nantsof  promise,  was  a  happy  presage' of  God's  grace 
to  the  Gentiles,  when  the  partition  wall  should,  in  the 
latter  days,  be  taken  down.  Esau  was  rejected;  yet 
many  that  came  from  him  inherited  some  of  the 
best  blessuigs. 

II.  That  they  continued  their  friendship  with 
Job  in  his  adversity,  when  most  of  his  friends  liad 
forsaken  him,  ch.  xix.  14.  Two  ways  they  showed 
their  friendship, 

1.  By  the  kind  visit  they  made  him  in  his  afflic- 
tion, to  mourn  with  him,  and  to  comfort  him,  v.  11. 
Probably,  they  had  been  wont  to  \  isit  him  in  his 
prosperity,  not  to  hunt  or  hawk  with  him,  not  to 
dance  or  play  at  cards  with  him,  but  to  entertain 
and  edify  themselves  with  his  learned  and  pious 
converse;  and  now,  that  he  was  in  adversity,  they 
came  to  share  with  him  in  his  griefs,  as  formerly 
they  had  come  to  share  with  him  in  liis  comforts. 
These  were  wise  men,  whose  heart  was  i"  ''"- 
house  of  mourning,  Eccl.  vii.  4.  Visiting  the  afflict 
ed,  sick  or  sore,  fatherless  or  childless,  in  their  sor- 
row, is  made  abranch  oi pure  religion  and  undtjikdi 
(Jam.  i.  27.)  and,  if  done  from  a  good  principle, 
will  be  abundantly  recompensed  shortly,  Matth. 
XXV.  36.  By  visiting  the  sons  and  daughters  of  afflic- 
tion, we  may  contribute  to  the  improvement,  (].) 
Of  our  own  graces;  for  many  a  good  lesson  is  t(j  be 
learned  from  the  trouliles  of  others;  we  may  look 
upon  them,  and  recei\e  instruction,  and  be  made 
wise  and  serious.  (2. )  Of  their  comforts;  by  putting 
a  respect  upon  them,  we  encourage  them,  and  some- 
good  word  may  be  spoken  to  them,  which  may  help 
to  make  them  easy.  Jc^b's  friends  came,  not  to 
satisfy  their  curiosity  with  an  account  of  his  troubles, 
and  the  strangeness  of  the  circumstances  of  them; 
much  less,  as  David's  false  friends,  to  make  invi- 
dious remarks  upon  him,  (Ps.  xli.  6.. 8.)  but  to 
mourn  with  him,  to  mingle  their  tears  with  his, 
and  so  to  comfort  him.  It  is  much  more  pleasant 
to  visit  those  in  affliction,  to  whom  comfort  belongs, 
than  those  to  whom  we  must  first  speak  con\  iction. 

Concerning  these  visitants,  observe,  [1.]  That 
they  were  not  sent  for,  but  came  of  their  own  ac- 
cord; {ch.  vi.  22.)  whence  Mr.  Caryl  observes,  that 
it  is  good  manriei's  to  be  an  unbidden  guest  at  the 
house  of  mourning,  and,  in  comforting  our  friends, 
to  prevent  their  invitations.  [2.]  That  thev  made 
an  appointment  to  come.  Note,  Good  people  should 
make  appointments  among  tliemselves  for  doing 
good,  so  exciting  and  obliging  one  another  to  it,  and 
assisting  and  encouraging  one  another  in  it.  For 
the  carrying  on  of  any  pi<  us  design,  let  hand  join  in 
hand.  [3.]  That  they  came  with  a  design  (and 
we  have  reason  to  think  it  was  a  sincere  design)  to 
comfort  him,  and  yet  pnned  miserable  comforters, 
through  their  unskilful  management  of  his  case. 
Many  that  aim  well,  by  mistake,  come  shoi  t  of 
their  aim. 


JOB,  III. 


23 


2.  By  their  tender  sympathy  with  him  and  con- 
cern fi.r  hini  in  his  affliction;  when  they  saw  him 
at  sonic  distance,  he  was  so  disfigured  and  deformed 
witli  h,s  sores,  that  they  kncvj  him  not,  f.  12.  Hs 
fa.c  w.ia  fo'.'l  iDit/t  ivfefiing,  {c/i.  xvi.  16.)  like  Je- 
ms ilem's  N.iza  ites,  that  had  been  ruddy  as  the 
rubitfi,  but  weie  now  blacker  than  a  coal.  Lam.  iv. 
7,  8.  Wliat  a  change  will  a  sore  disease,  or,  with- 
out that,  oppi'essing  care  and  grief,  make  in  the 
countenance,  in  a  little  time!  Is  this  J^aomi?  Ruth 
i.  19.  So,  Is  this  Joby  How  art  thou  fallen!  How 
IS  thy  glory  stained  and  sullied,  and  all  thine  honour 
laid  in  the  dust!   God  fit  us  for  such  changes! 

Observing  him  thus  miserably  altered,  they  did 
not  leave  him,  in  a  fright  or  loathing,  but  expressed 
so  much  the  more  tenderness  toward  him. 

(1.)  Coming  to  mourn  with  him,  they  vented  their 
undissernbled  grief  in  all  the  then  usual  expressions 
of  that  passion;  they  wept  aloud;  the  sight  of  them, 
(as  is  usual,)  revived  Job's  grief,  and  set  him  a-weep- 
ing  afresh,  which  fetched  floods  of  tears  from  their 
eyes.  They  rent  their  clothes,  and  sprinkled  dust 
upon  their  heads,  as  men  that  would  strip  them- 
selves, and  abase  themselves,  with  their  friend  that 
was  stripped  and  abased. 

(2.)  Coming  to  comfort  him,  they  sat  down  with 
nim  upon  the  ground,  for  so  he  received  visits;  and 
they,  not  in  compliment  to  him,  but  in  true  com- 
passion, put  themselves  into  the  same  humble  and 
uneasy  place  and  posture.  They  had  many  a  time, 
it  is  likely,  sitten  with  him  on  his  couches,  and  at 
his  table,  in  his  prosperity,  and  were  therefore 
willing  to  share  with  him  in  his  grief  and  po\erty, 
because  they  had  shared  with  him  in  his  joy  and 
plenty.  It  was  not  a  modish  short  visit  that  they 
made  him,  just  to  look  upon  him  and  be  gone;  but, 
as  those  that  could  have  no  enjoyment  of  themselves, 
if  they  had  returned  to  their  place,  while  their 
friend  was  in  so  much  misery,  they  resolved  to  stay 
with  him  till  they  saw  him  mend  or  end,  and  there- 
fore took  lodgings  near  him,  though  he  was  not  now 
able  to  entertain  them  as  he  had  done,  and  they 
must  therefore  bear  their  own  charges.  Every  day, 
for  seven  days  together,  at  the  hours  in  which  he 
admitted  company,  they  came  and  sat  with  him,  as 
liis  companions  in  tribulation,  and  exceptions  from 
that  rule,  JVullus  ad  admissas  ibit  amicus  opes —  They 
•who  have  lost  their  wealth,  are  not  to  exfiect  the 
visits  of  their  friends. 

They  sat  with  him,  but  none  spake  a  word  to 
him,  only  they  all  attended  to  the  particular  naiTa- 
tives  he  gave  of  his  troubles.  They  were  silent,  as 
men  astonished  and  amazed;  Cures  leves  loquuntur, 
ingentes  stufient — Our  lighter  griefs  have  a  voice; 
those  which  are  more  oppressive,  are  mute;  or,  ac- 
cording to  Sir  R.  Blackmore, 

So  lung  a  lime  they  held  their  peace,  to  show 
A  reverence  due  lo  suih  prodigious  woe. 

They  spake  not  a  word  to  him,  whatever  they 
said  one  to  another,  by  way  of  instruction,  for  the 
improvement  of  the  present  providence.  They 
said  nothing  to  that  purport  to  which  afterward 
they  said  much — nothing  to  grieve  him;  {ch.  iv.  2.) 
because  they  saw  his  grief  was  very  great  already, 
and  they  were  loath  at  first  to  add  affliction  to  the 
afflicted.  There  is  a  time  to  keep  silence,  when 
either  the  wicked  is  before  us,  and  by  speaking  we 
niay  harden  them,  (Ps.  xxxix.  1. )  or  when  by  speak- 
ing we  may  offend  the  generation  of  God's  children, 
Ps.  Ixxiii.  15.  Their  not  entering  upon  the  follow- 
ing solemn  discourses  till  the  seventh  day,  may  per- 
haps intimate  that  it  was  the  sabbath-day,  which, 
doubtless,  was  obser\  ed  in  the  patriarchal  age,  and 
to  that  day  they  adjourned  the  intended  conference, 
because,  probably,  then  company  resorted,  as  usual, 
to  Job's  house,  to  join  with  him  in  his  devotions, 
who  might  be  edified  by  the  discourse.     Or  rather, 


by  their  silence  so  long,  they  would  intimate,  thi.t 
what  they  afterwards  said  was  well  considered  and 
digested,  and  the  result  of  many  thoughts.  'J'/,e 
heart  of  the  wise  studies  to  answer.  We  should 
Ih  nk  twice  before  we  speak  once,  especiallv  in 
such  a  case  as  this,  think  long,  and  we  sliall  be'  the 
belter  able  to  speak  short  and  to  the  purpose. 

CHAP.  111. 

Ye  have  heard  of  the  patience  of  Job,  says  the  apostle,  Jav.. 
V.  11.  So  »ve  have,  and  of  his  inipatience  too.  We 
wondered  that  a  man  should  be  so  patient  as  he  was; 
(ch.  i.  and  ii. )  but  we  wondered  also,  that  a  good  muii 
should  be  so  impatient  as  he  is  here  in  this  chapter, 
where  we  find  him  cursing  his  day,  and,  in  passion,  1. 
Complaining  that  he  was  born,  v.  1 . .  10.  II.  Complain- 
iii"^  that  he  did  not  die  as  soon  as  he  was  born,  v.  1 1 .  .  1 9. 
III.  Complaining  that  his  life  was  now  continued  when 
he  was  in  misery,  v.  20.  .26.  In  this,  it  must  be  owned 
that  Job  sinned  with  his  lips,  and  it  is  written,  not  for 
our  imitation,  but  our  admonition,  that  he  who  thinks 
he  stands,  may  take  heed  lest  he  fall. 

FTER  this  opened  Job  his  mouth, 
and  cursed  his  day.  2.  And  Job 
spake,  and  said,  3.  Let  the  day  perish 
wherein  1  was  born,  and  the  nigiit  m  tvhich 
it  was  said.  There  is  a  man  child  conceived. 
4.  Let  that  day  be  darkness ;  let  not  God 
regard  it  from  above,  neither  let  the  light 
shine  upon  it.  5.  Let  darkness  and  the 
shadow  of  death  stain  it;  let  a  cloud  dwell 
upon  it;  let  the  blackness  of  the  day  terrify 
it.  6.  As  for  that  night,  let  darkness  seize 
upon  it ;  let  it  not  be  joined  unto  the  days 
of  the  year;  let  it  not  come  into  the  numbt  r 
of  the  months.  7.  Lo,  let  that  night  be 
solitary;  let  no  joyful  voice  come  thereiis. 
8.  Let  them  curse  it  that  curse  the  day,  wh.o 
are  ready  to  laise  up  their  mourning.  9. 
Let  the  stars  of  the  twilight  thereof  be  dai  k ; 
let  it  look  for  light,  but  have  none;  neither 
let  it  see  the  daVvning  of  the  day:  10.  Be- 
cause it  shut  not  up  the  doors  of  my  mother's 
womb,  nor  hid  sorrow  from  mine  eyes. 

Long  was  Job's  heart  hot  within  him;  while  he 
was  musing,  the  fire  burned,  and  the  more  for  be- 
ing stifled  and  suppressed;  at  length,  he  spake  with 
his  tongue,  but  not  such  a  good  word  as  David  spake 
after  a  long  pause.  Lord,  make  me  to  know  my  end,' 
Ps.  xxxix.  3,  4.  Seven  days  the  prophet  Ezekiel 
sat  down  astonished  with  the  captives,  and  then 
(probably  on  the  sabbath-day)  the  word  of  the  Lord 
came  to  him,  Ezek.  iii.  15,  16.  So  long  job  and  his 
friends  sat  thinking,  but  said  nothing;  they  wete 
afraid  of  speaking  what  they  thought,  lest  thev 
should  grieve  him,  and  he  durst  not  give  vent  to  his 
thoughts,  lest  he  .«hould  ofFend  them.  They  came 
to  comfort  him,  but,  finding  his  afflictions  very  ex- 
traordinary, they  began  to  think  comfort  did  n;  t 
belong  to  him,  suspecting  him  to  be  a  hvpccrite, 
and  therefore  they  said  nothing.  But  loset  s  think 
they  may  have  leave  to  speak,  and  tlierefore  Jo!) 
gives  vent  first  to  his  thoughts.  Unless  they  had 
been  better,  it  had  been  well  if  he  had  kept  them 
to  himself. 

In  short,  he  cursed  his  day,  the  day  of  his  birth, 
wished  he  had  never  been  born,  could  not  think  ov 
speak  of  his  own  birth  without  regret  and  vexation. 
Whereas  men  usually  observe  the  annual  return  of 
their  birth-day  with  rejoicing,  he  looked  upon  it  as 


24 


JOB,  III. 


llxe  unhappiest  day  of  the  year,  because  the  unhap- 
piest  of  his  hfe,  being  the  inlet  into  all  his  woe. 
Now, 

I.  This  was  bad  enough.  The  extremity  of  his 
trouble  and  the  discomposure  of  liis  spirits  may  ex- 
cuse it  in  part,  but  he  can  by  no  means  be  justilied 
in  it.  Now  lie  has  forgotten  the  good  he  was  born 
to,  the  lean  kine  have  eaten  up  the  fat  ones,  and  he 
is  filled  with  thoughts  of  the  evil  only,  and  wishes 
he  had  never  been  born.  The  prophet  Jeremiah 
himself  expressed  his  resentment  of  his  calamities, 
in  language  not  much  unlike  this,  I  foe  is  me,  rny 
mother,  t/iat  thou  hunt  borne  me!  (Jer.  xv.  10.) 
Cursed  be  the  day  wherein.  I  was  born,  Jer.  xx.  14, 
&c.  We  may  suppose  that  Job,  in  his  prosperity, 
had  many  a  time  blessed  God  for  the  day  of  his 
birth,  and  reckoned  it  a  happy  day;  yet  now  he 
brands  it  with  all  possible  marks  of  infamy.  When 
we  consider  the  iniquity  in  which  we  were  conceiv- 
ed and  born,  we  have  reason  enciugh  to  reflect  with 
sorrow  and  shame  upon  the  day  of  our  birth,  and  to 
say  that  the  day  of  our  death,  by  which  we  are 
freed  from  sin,  (Rom.  vi.  7.)  is  far  better,  Eccl. 
vii.  1.  But  to  curse  the  day  of  our  birth,  because 
then  we  entered  upon  the  calamitous  scene  of  life, 
is  to  quaiTel  with  the  God  of  nature,  to  despise  the 
dignity  of  our  being,  and  to  indulge  a  passion  which 
our  own  calm  and  sober  thoughts  will  make  us 
ashamed  of.  Certainly  there  is  no  condition  of  life 
a  man  can  be  in  in  this  world,  but  he  may,  in  it, 
(if  it  be  not  his  own  fault,)  so  honour  God,  and 
workiout  his  own  salvation,  and  make  sure  a  happi- 
ness for  himself  in  a  better  world,  that  he  will  have 
no  reason  at  all  to  wish  he  had  never  been  born, 
but  a  great  deal  of  reason  to  say  that  he  had  his  be- 
ing to  good  purpose.  Yet  't  iimst  be  owned,  if 
there  were  not  another  life  after  this,  and  divine 
consolations  to  support  us  in  the  prospects  of  it,  so 
many  are«the  sorrows  and  troubles  of  this,  that  we 
might  sometimes  be  tempted  to  say  that  we  were 
made  in  vain,  (Ps.  Ixxxix.  47.)  and  to  wish  we  had 
ne\er  been.  There  are  those  in  hell,  who,  with 
good  reason,  wish  they  had  never  been  born,  as 
Judas,  Matth.  xxvi.  24.  But,  on  this  side  hell, 
there  can  ^e  no  reason  for  so  vain  and  ungrateful  a 
wish.  It  was  Job's  folly  and  weakness  to  curse  his 
day;  we  must  say  of  it.  This  was  his  infirmity;  but 
good  men  have  sometimes  failed  in  the  exercise  of 
those  graces  which  they  have  been  most  eminent 
for,  that  we  may  understand,  that,  when  they  are 
said  to  be  fierftct,  it  is  meant  that  they  weie  up- 
right, not  that  they  were  sinless.  Lastly,  Let  us 
observe  it,  to  the  honour  of  the  spiritual  life  above 
the  natural,  that,  though  many  have  cursed  the  day 
of  their  first  birth,  never  any  cursed  the  day  of  their 
new  birth,  nor  wished  they  ne\  er  had  had  grace, 
and  the  spirit  of  grace  given  them;  those  are  the 
most  excellent  gifts,  above  life  and  being  itself,  and 
whicli  will  never  be  a  burthen. 

II.  Yet  it  was  not  so  bad  as  Satan  promised  him- 
self: Job  cursed  his  day,  but  he  did  not  curse  his 
CJod;  was  weary  of  his  life,  and  would  gladly  have 
parted  with  that,  but  not  weary  of  his  religion;  he 
resolutely  cleaves  to  that,  and  will  ne\er  let  it  go. 
The  disjnite  between  God  and  Satan  concerning 
Job,  was  not  whether  Job  had  his  infirmities,  and 
whether  he  was  suljject  to  like  passions  as  we  are; 
(that  was  granted;)  but  whetlier  he  was  a  hypo- 
crite, and  secretly  hated  (iod,  and,  if  he  were  pro- 
voked, would  show  it:  upon  trial,  it  proved  that  he 
was  no  such  man.  Nay,  all  this  may  consist  with 
his  being  a  pattern  of  patience;  for  though  he  did 
thus  speak  unad\  isedly  with  his  lips,  yet,  ijoth  be- 
fore and  after,  he  expressed  great  submission  and 
resignation  to  tlic  holy  will  of  (iod,  and  repented  of 
his  impatience;  he  condemned  himself  tor  it,  and 
therefore  God  did  not  condemn  him;  nor  must  we, 


but  watch  the  more  carefully  over  ourselves,  lest 
we  sin  after  the  similitude  of  this  transgression. 

The  particular  expressions  which  Jub  used,  in 
cursing  his  day,  are  full  of  poetical  fancy,  flame,  and 
rapture;  and  cieate  as  much  difficulty  to  che  ci-itics 
as  the  thing  itself  does  to  the  divine's:  we  need  not. 
be  particular  in  our  observations  upon  tliem. 

When  he  would  express  his  passionate  wish  that 
he  had  never  been,  he  falls  foul  upon  the  day;  and, 

1.  He  wished  that  earth  might  forget  it;  Let  it 
perish,  v.  3.  Let  it  not  be  joined  to  the  days  of  the 
year,  v.  6.  "Let  it  be  not  only  not  inserted  in  the 
calendar  in  red  letters,  as  the  day  <  f  tlie  king's  na- 
tivity useih  to  be,"  (and  Job  was  a  king,  ch.  xxix. 
ult.)  "but  let  it  be  rased  and  blotted  out,  and  bu- 
ried in  oblivion.  Let  not  the  world  know  that  ever 
such  a  man  as  I  was  bom  into  it,  and  lived  in  it, 
who  am  made  such  a  spectacle  of  misery. " 

2.  That  Hea\en  might  frown  ufion  it;  Let  not 
God  regard  it  from  above,  v.  4.  "E.  ery  thing  is 
indeed  as  it  is  with  God;  that  day  is  honourable  on 
which  he  puts  honour,  and  which  he  distinguishes 
and  crowns  with  his  favour  and  blessing,  as  he  did 
the  seventh  day  of  the  week,  but  let  my  birth-day 
never  be  so  honoured,  let  it  be  nigro  carbone  notan- 
dus — marked  as  with  a  black  coal,  for  an  evil  day, 
by  him  that  determines  the  times  before  appointed. 
1  he  Father  and  Fountain  of  light  appouited  the 
greater  light  to  rule  the  day,  and  lesser  lights  to 
rule  the  niglit;  but  let  that  want  the  benefit  of  both. " 
(1. )  Let  that  day  be  darkness;  {v.  4.)  and  if  the 
light  of  the  day  be  darkness,  hoiv  great  is  that 
darkness!  It  is  terrible,  because  then  we  look  for 
light.  Let  the  gloominess  of  the  day  represent 
Job's  condition,  whose  sun  went  down  at  noon.  (2.) 
As  for  that  night  too,  let  it  want  the  benefit  rf  morn 
and  stars,  and  let  darkness  seize  upon  it,  thick  dark- 
ness, darkness  that  may  be  felt,  which  will  not  be- 
friend the  repose  of  the  night  by  its  silence,  but 
rather  disturb  it  with  its  terroi  s. 

3.  That  all  joy  might  forsake  it;  "Let  it  be  a 
melancholy  night,  solitary,  and  not  a  mei  ry  night 
of  music  or  dancing;  let  no  joyful  voice  c^me  there- 
in;" {y.  7.)  "let  it  be  a  long  night,  and  not  see  the 
eye-lids  of  the  morning,"  (v.  9.)  "which  bring  joy 
with  them." 

4.  That  all  curses  m\%hX. follow  it;  [xk  8.)  "Let 
none  ever  desire  to  see  it,  or  bid  it  welcome  when 
it  comes,  but,  on  the  contrary,  let  them  curse  it  that 
curse  the  day.  Whatever  day  any  are  tempted  to 
curse,  let  them  at  the  same  time  besti.w  rue  ciirse 
upon  my  birth-day;  particularly  those  th;it  make  it 
their  trade  to  raise  up  mourning  a'  funenls  wrh 
their  ditties  of  lamentation.  Let  them  that  curse 
the  day  of  the  death  of  oth.ers,  in  the  same  breath 
curse  tlie  day  of  my  birth."  Or,  those  who  are  so 
fierce  and  daring  as  to  be  ready  to  raise  u]j  the 
Leviathan,  for  that  is  the  word  here;  who,  hcivig 
about  to  strike  the  whale  or  crocodile,  curse  it  \<.  ith 
the  bitterest  curse  they  can  invent,  hoping  by  thi^se 
incantations  to  weaken  it,  and  so  to  make  them- 
selves masters  of  it.  Probably  some  such  custom 
might  there  be  used,  to  which  cur  divine  poet  a'- 
ludes.  Let  it  be  as  odious  as  the  day  wherein  men 
bewail  the  greatest  misfortune,  or  the  time  ivhin- 
in  they  see  the  most  dreadful  apparitioji:  so  Bishf]) 
Patrick,  I  supprse,  taking  the  Levi;:than  liere  to 
signify  the  Devil,  as  others  do,  who  uiulcrsta;  d  it 
of  the  curses  used  by  conjurers  and  magicians  in 
raising  the  Devil,  or  when  they  have  raised  a  devil 
that  they  cannot  lay. 

But  what  is  the  ground  of  Job's  quanel  with  the 
day  and  night  of  his  birth?  It  is  because  it  shut  not 
up  the  doors  of  his  mother^s  womb,  v.  10.  See  the 
folly  and  madness  of  a  passionate  discontent,  and 
how  absurdly  and  '^vtr^.vKgantly  it  talks,  when  the 
reins  are  laid  on  the  neck  of  it.     Is  this  Job,  who 


JOB,  III. 


25 


was  so  much  admired  for  his  wisdom,  that  unto  him 
men  gave  ear,  and  kefil  silence  at  his  counsel,  and 
after  his  vjords  they  spuke  not  ugaiii?  ch.  xxix.  21, 
22.  Surely  his  wisdom  failed  liim,  ^1.)  When  he 
took  so  much  pains  to  express  his  desire  that  he 
had  ne\  er  been  born,  whicii,  at  the  best,  was  a  vain 
wisii,  for  it  is  impossible  to  make  that  which  has 
been,  not  to  have  been.  (2.)  When  he  was  so  li- 
Dei'al  of  his  curses  upon  a  day  and  a  night,  that  could 
not  be  liurt,  or  made  ever  the  worse  for  his  curses. 
(3.)  When  he  wished  a  thing  so  very  barbarous  to 
his  own  iooiher,  as  that  she  might  not  have  brouglu 
him  forth,  when  her  full  time  was  come;  wliich 
must  ine\itdbly  have  been  her  death,  and  a  mise- 
rable death.  (4.)  When  he  despised  the  goodness 
of  God  to  him,  (in  giving  him  a  being,  sucli  a  being, 
so  noble  and  excellent  a  life,  such  a  life,  so  far 
abovC  that  of  any  other  creature  in  this  lower 
world,)  and  undervalued  tiie  gift,  as  not  worth  the 
acceptance,  only  because  tratmt  cum  onere — it  was 
clogged  with  a  firoviso  of  trouble,  which  now,  at 
length,  came  upon  him,  after  many  years'  enjoy- 
ment of  its  pleasures.  What  a  foolish  thing  it  wa* 
to  wish  that  his  eyes  had  never  seen  the  light,  that 
so  they  might  not  have  seen  sorrow,  which  yet  he 
might  hope  to  see  through,  and  beyond  which  he 
might  see  joy!  Did  Job  believe  and  hope  that  he 
should  m  his  flesh  see  God  at  the  latter  day;  {ch. 
xix.  26.)  and  yet  would  he  wish  he  never  had  had 
a  being  capable  of  such  a  bliss,  only  because,  for  the 
present,  he  had  sorrow  in  the  flesh?  God,  by  his 
grace,  arm  us  against  this  foolish  and  hurtful  lust 
of  impatience! 

1 1.  Why  died  I  not  from  the  womb?  lohi/ 
did  I  not  give  up  the  ghost  when  I  came  out 
of  the  belly  ?  12.  Why  did  the  knees  pre- 
vent me  ?  or  why  the  breasts  that  I  should 
suck  ?  1 3.  For  now  should  I  have  lain  still 
and  been  quiet,  I  should  have  slept :  then 
had  I  been  at  rest,  14.  With  kings  and 
counsellors  of  the  earth,  which  built  desolate 
places  for  themselves;  15.  Or  with  princes 
that  had  gold,  who  filled  their  houses  with 
silver:  16.  Or  as  a  hidden  untimely  birth 
1  had  not  been ;  as  infants  which  never  saw 
light.  17.  There  the  wicked  cea.se  from 
troubling ;  and  there  the  weary  be  at  rest. 
18.  There  the  prisoners  rest  together;  they 
hear  not  the  voice  of  the  oppressor.  19. 
The  small  and  great  are  there;  and  the 
servant  is  free  from  his  master. 

Job,  perhaps  reflecting  upon  himself  for  his  folly 
in  wishing  he  had  never  been  born,  follows  it,  and 
thinks  to  mend  it,  with  another,  little  better,  that 
he  had  died  as  soon  as  he  was  born,  which  he  en- 
larges upon  in  these  verses.  When  our  Saviour 
would  set  forth  a  very  calamitous  state  of  things,  he 
seems  to  allow  such  a  saying  as  this.  Blessed  are 
the  barren,  and  the  wombs  that  Tiever  bare,  and  the 
fiafis  which  never  gave  suck;  (Luke  xxiii.  29.)  but 
blessing  the  liarren  womb  is  one  thing,  and  cursing 
the  fruitful  womb  is  another!  It  is  good  to  make  the 
best  of  afflictions,  but  it  is  not  good  to  make  the 
worst  of  mercies.  Our  rule  is,  Bless,  a7id  curse  not. 

Life  is  often  put  for  all  good,  and  death  for  all  evil; 
yet  Job  here  very  absurdly  complains  of  life  and  its 
supports,  as  a  curse  and  plague  to  him,  and  covets 
death  and  the  grave,  as  the  greatest  and  most  de- 
sirable bliss.  Surely  Satan  was  deceived  in  Job, 
when  he  applied  that  maxim  to  him,  jill  that  a  man 

Vol.  III.— D 


hath  will  he  give  for  his  life;  for  never  any   man 
valued  life  at  a  lower  rate  than  he  did. 

I.  He  ungratetully  quarrels  with  life,  and  is  an- 
gry tliut  It  was  not  taken  from  him  as  soon  as  't  was 
given  him;  {v.  11,  12.)  Why  died  not  I  from  the 
womb?  See  here,  1.  What  a  weak  and  helpless 
creature  man  is  when  he  comes  into  the  woild,  and 
how  slender  the  thread  of  Lfe  is,  when  it  is  first 
drawn.  We  are  ready  to  die  fion)  tlie  womb,  and 
to  breathe  our  last,  as  soon  as  we  begin  to  breathe 
at  all.  We  can  dc)  nothing  for  ourseh  es,  as  other 
creatures  can,  but  should  drop  into  the  grave,  if 
the  knees  did  not  prevent  us;  and  the  lamp  of  life, 
when  first  lighted,  would  go  out  of  itself,  if  the 
breasts  given  us,  that  we  should  suck,  did  not  supply 
it  with  fresh  oil.  2,  What  a  merciful  and  tender 
care  Divine  Providence  took  of  us,  at  our  entrance 
into  the  world.  It  was  owing  to  th's,  that  we  died 
not  from  the  womb,  and  did  not  give  u/i  the  ghost 
when  we  came  out  of  the  belly.  Why  were  we  not 
cut  off"  as  soon  as  we  were  born?  Not  because  we 
did  not  deserve  it;  justly  might  such  weeds  ha\e 
been  plucked  u,)  as  soon  as  they  appeared,  justly 
might  such  cockatrices  ha\  e  been  crushed  in  the 
egg:  not  because  we  did,  or  could,  take  any  care  of 
ourselves  and  our  own  safety;  no  creature  comes 
into  the  world  so  shiftless  as  man.  It  was  not  our 
might,  or  the  power  of  our  hand,  that  preser\  ed  us 
these  beings;  but  God's  power  and  pro\  idence  up- 
held our  frail  lives,  and  his  pity  and  patience  spared 
our  forfeited  lives.  It  was  owing  to  this  that  the 
knees  prevented  us.  Natural  affection  is  put  into 
parents'  hearts  by  the  hand  of  the  God  of  nature: 
and  lience  it  was,  that  the  blessings  of  the  breast 
attended  those  of  the  womb.  3.  What  a  great  deal 
of  vanity  and  vexation  of  spirit  attends  human  life. 
If  we  had  not  a  God  to  serve  in  this  world,  and  bet- 
ter things  to  hope  for  in  another  world,  considering 
the  faculties  we  are  endued  whh,  and  the  ti-oubles 
we  are  surrounded  with,  we  should  be  st)ongly 
tenipted  to  wish  that  we  had  died  from  the  womb, 
which  had  prevented  a  great  deal  both  of  sin  and 
misery. 

He  that  is  born  ro-day,  and  dies  to-morrow, 
Loses  some  hours  of  joy,  but  months  of  sorrow. 

4.  The  evil  of  impatience,  fretfulness,  and  discon- 
tent; when  they  thus  prevail,  they  aie  unreason- 
able and  absurd,  impious  and  ungrateful;  they  are 
a  slighting  and  under\^aluing  of  God's  fa\  our.  'How 
much  soever  life  is  imbittered,  we  must  say,  "It 
was  of  the  Lord's  mercies  that  we  died  not  from 
the  womb,  that  we  were  not  consumed."  Hatred 
of  life  is  a  contradiction  to  the  common  sense  and 
sentiments  of  mank'nd,  and  our  own  at  anothei 
time.  Let  discontented  people  declaim  ever  so  much 
against  life,  they  will  he  loath  to  part  with  it  when  it 
comes  to  the  point.  When  the  old  man  in  the  fable, 
being  tired  with  his  burthen,  threw  it  drwn  with 
discontent,  and  called  for  death,  and  death  came  to 
him,  and  asked  him  what  he  would  have  with  him, 
he  then  answered,  "Nothing,  but  help  me  up  with 
my  burthen." 

IL  He  p  issionately  applauds  death  and  the  grave, 
and  seems  quite  in  "love  with  them.  To  desire  to 
die,  that  we  may  be  with  Christ,  that  we  may  be  free 
from  sin,  and  that  we  may  be  clothed  upon  with 
our  house  which  is  fro7n  heaven,  is  the  effect  and 
evidence  of  grace;  but  to  desire  to  die,  only  that  we 
may  be  quiet  in  the  grave,  and  dcliveied  "from  the 
troubles  of  this  life,  sa\  ours  of  corruption.  Job's 
considerations  here  may  be  of  good  use  to  reconcile 
us  to  death  when  it  comes,  and  to  make  us  easy 
under  the  arrest  of  it;  but  they  ought  not  to  be 
made  use  of  as  a  pretence  to  quarrel  with  life  while 
it  is  continued,  or  to  make  us  uneasy  under  the  bur- 
thens of  it.     It  is  our  wisdom  and  duty  to  make  the 


26 


JOB,  III. 


best  of  that  which  is,  be  it  living  or  dying,  and  so 
t(i  live  to  the  Lord,  and  die  to  the  Lord,  and  to  be 
liis  in  both,  Rom.  xiv.  8. 

Job  here  frets  himself  with  thinking,  that,  if  he 
had  but  died  as  soon  as  he  was  born,  and  been  ear- 
ned from  the  womb  to  the  grave, 

1.  His  condition  would  have  been  as  good  as  that 
of  the  best.  I  should  have  been  (says  he,  v.  14. ) 
with  kings  and  counsellors  of  the  earth,  whose 
pomp,  power,  and  policy,  cannot  set  them  out  of 
the  reacli  of  death,  nor  secure  them  from  the  grave, 
\\)v  distinguish  their's  from  common  dust  in  the 
grave.  Even  princes,  who  had  gold  in  abundance, 
I  'Mild  not,  with  it,  bribe  death  to  overlook  them 
ulien  he  came  with  commission;  and  though  tliey 
fi'.lecl  their  houses  with  silver,  yet  they  were  forced 
to  leave  it  all  behind  them,  no  more  to  return  to  it. 
Some,  by  the  desolate  places  which  the  kings  and 
counsellors  are  here  said  to  build  for  themselves, 
understand  the  sepulchres  or  monuments  they  pre- 
])ired  for  themselves  in  their  life-time;  as  Shebna 
(Is  '.  xxii.  16.)  hewed  him  out  a  sefiulchre;  and  by 
the  gold  which  the  princes  had,  and  the  sil\  er  with 
which  they  filled  their  houses,  they  understand  the 
treasures  which,  they  say,  it  was  usual  to  deposit  in 
the  graves  of  great  men.  Such  arts  have  been  used 
to  preserve  their  dignity,  if  possible,  on  the  other 
side  death,  and  to  keep  themselves  from  lying 
even  with  those  of  inferior  rank;  but  it  will  not  do; 
death  is,  and  will  be,  an  irresistible  leveller;  Mors 
scr/itra  li^ojiibus  dequat — Death  mingles  sce/itres 
with  sfiades.  Rich  and  fioor  meet  together  in  the 
grave;  and  there,  2. hidden  untimely  birth,  {y.  16.) 
a  child  that  either  never  saw  light,  or  but  just  open- 
ed its  eyes,  and  peeped  into  the  world,  and,  not 
liking  it,  closed  them  again,  and  hastened  out  of  it, 
lies  -.s  soft  and  easy,  lies  as  high  and  safe,  as  kings, 
and  counsellors,  and  princes  that  had  gold;  "And 
therefore,"  says  Job,  "  would  I  had  lain  there  in  the 
dust,  rather  than  live  to  lie  here  in  the  ashes!" 

2.  His  condition  would  have  been  much  better 
thai  n  rw  it  was,  v.  13.  "  Then  should  I  have  lain 
still  and  been  quiet,  which  now  I  cannot  do,  I  can- 
not be,  but  am  still  tossing  and  unquiet;  then  I 
should  have  slept,  whereas  now  sleep  departeth 
from  mine  eyes;  then  had  I  been  at  rest,  whereas 
now  I  am  restless."  Now  that  life  and  immortality 
are  brought  to  a  much  clearer  light  by  the  gospel 
than  befoi-e  they  were  placed  in,  good  Christians  can 
give  a  better  account  than  this  of  the  gain  of  death; 
"  Tlien  should  I  have  been  present  with  the  Lord, 
then  should  I  have  seen  his  glory  face  to  face,  and 
no  longer  through  a  glass  darkly;"  but  all  that  poor 
Job  dreamed  of,  was  rest  and  quietness  in  the  grave, 
cut  of  the  fear  of  evil  tidings,  and  out  of  the  feeling 
of  sore  boils.  I'hen  should  I  have  been  quiet;  and 
hnd  he  kept  his  temper,  his  even  easy  temper  still, 
which  he  was  in,  in  the  two  foregoing  chapters,  en- 
tirely resigned  to  the  holy  will  of  God,  and  acqui- 
escing in  it,  he  might  have  been  quiet  now ;  his  soul,, 
at  least,  might  have  dwelt  at  ease,  even  when  his 
bodv  lay  in  pain,  Ps.  xxv.  13. 

Observe  how  finely  he  describes  the  repose  of  the 
gr;(ve;  which  (provided  the  soul  also  l)e  at  rest  in 
Gnfl)  may  much  assist  our  triumph  over  it. 

(1.)  Those  that  now  are  troubled,  will  there  be 
'out  of  the  reach  of  trouble;  {y.  17. )  There  the  wick- 
ed erase  from  troubling:  when  persecutors  die,  they 
can  no  longer  persecute,  their  hatred  and  envy  are 
now  perished.  Herod  had  vexed  the  church,  but 
when  he  became  a  prey  for  worms,  he  ceased  from 
troiibling.  When  the  persecuted  die,  they  are  out 
of  the  danger  of  being  any  further  troubled.  Had 
Job  been  at  rest  in  his  grave,  he  had  had  nodisturli- 
ance  from  the  Sabeans  and  Chaldeans,  none  of  all 
nis  enemies  had  created  him  any  trouble. 

(2.)  Th'^se  tliat  arc  now  toiled,  will  there  see  the 


period  of  their  toils;  there  th:  weary  are  at  rest 
heaven  is  more  than  a  rest  to  the  souls  of  the  saints, 
but  the  grave  is  a  rest  to  their  bodies;  their  pilgri- 
mage is  a  weary  pilgrimage;  sin  and  the  world  « 
they  are  weary  of;  their  services,  sufferings,  and 
expectations,  they  are  wearied  with;  but  in  the 
grave  they  rest  from  all  their  labours,  Rev.  xi.. 
13.  Isa.  Ivii.  2.  They  are  eusy  there,  i.nd  make  im) 
complaints;  there  believers  sleep  in  Jesus. 

(3.)  Those  that  were  here  enslaved,  are  there  i;t 
liberty:  death  is  the  prisoner's  discharge,  the  reli  f 
of  the  oppressed,  and  the  servant's  nuitiumis.sif;n,  i . 
18.  There  the  prisoners,  though  thty  walk  nit  ;.t 
large,  yet  they  rest  together,  and  arc  net  put  to 
work,  to  grind  in  that  pris'n-house.  They  aieno 
more  insulted  and  tranii)led  upon,  menaced  ai  d 
terrified,  by  their  cruel  task-m  sters;  'hey  hear  7:0t 
the  voice  of  the  ojifiressor.  They  that  were  heie 
doomed  to  perj^etual  servitude,  that  cou!d  call  no- 
thing their  own,  no  not  their  own  b'  dies,  are  there 
no  longer  under  command  or  c  ntr(  1;  there  tlie  ser- 
vant is  free  from  his  master;  wlii^h  is  a  gof  d  reason 
why  those  that  have  power  should  use  it  mode- 
rately, and  those  that  are  in  subjection  should  bear 
it  patiently,  yet  a  little  while. 

(4.)  Those  that  were  at  a  vast  distance  from  all 
others,  there  are  upon  a  level,  v.  19.  The  small 
and  great  are  there,  there  the  same,  there  all  one, 
all  alike  free  among  the  dead.  The  tedious  pomp 
and  state,  which  attend  the  great,  are  at  an  end 
there;  all  the  inconveniences  of  a  poor  and  low  con- 
dition are  likewise  over;  death  and  the  grave  know 
no  difference. 

LevelI'd  by  death,  the  conqueror  and  the  slave, 
The  wise  and  foolish,  cowards  and  the  brave, 
Lie  mix'd  and  undistinguished  in  the  grave 

Sir  R.  Blackmore. 

20.  Wherefore  is  light  given  to  him  thai 
is  in  misery,  and  Ufe  unto  the  bitter  m  soul  \ 

21.  Which  long  for  death,  but  licometh  not ; 
and  dig  for  it  more  than  for  hid  treasures ; 

22.  Wliich  rejoice  exceedingly,  and  are  glad 
when  they  can  find  the  grave  ?  23.  Why  is 
light  given  to  a  man  whose  way  is  hid,  and 
whom  God  hath  hedged  in  ?  24.  For  my 
sighing  Cometh  before  I  eat,  and  my  roar- 
ings are  poured  out  like  the  waters.  25.  For 
the  thing  which  T  greatly  feared  is  come 
upon  me,  and  that  which  I  was  afraid  of  is 
come  unto  me.  26.  I  was  not  in  safet}-, 
neither  had  I  rest,  neither  was  I  quiet;  yet 
trouble  came. 

Job,  finding  it  to  no  purpose  to  wish  either  that 
he  had  not  been  born,  or  had  died  as  soon  as  he  was 
born,  here  complains  that  his  life  was  now  con- 
tinued, and  not  cut  off.  When  men  are  set  on  quar- 
relling, there  is  no  end  of  it;  the  corrupt  heart  will 
carry  on  the  humour:  having  cursed  the  day  of  his 
birth,  here  he  courts  the  day  of  his  death.  The 
beginning  of  this  strife  and  impatience  is  as  the  let- 
ting forth  of  water. 

1.  He  thinks  it  hard,  in  general,  that  miserable 
lives  should  be  prolonged;  (t.  20.  .  22.)  Wherefore 
is  light  in  life  given  to  them  that  are  bitter  in  soul? 
Bitterness  of  soul,  through  sjiiritual  grievances, 
makes  life  itself  bitter.  JVhy  doth  he  give  light  k 
So  it  is  in  the  original :  he  means  God,  yet  does  not 
name  him,  though  the  Devil  had  said,  "He  will 
curse  thee  to  thy  face;"  but  he  tacitly  reflects  on  the 
Divine  Providence  as  unjust  and  unkind,  in  conti- 
nuing life,  when  the  comforts  of  litV  are  removed. 


JOB,  IV. 


27 


Life  is  called  light,  because  pleasant  and  service- 
able for  walking  and  working;  it  is  candle-ligtit,  the 
longer  it  burns,  the  shorter,  and  the  nearer  to  the 
socket,  it  grows.  This  light  is  said  to  be  gwen  us; 
for  if  it  were  not  daily  renewed  to  us  by  a  fresh 
gift,  it  would  be  lost.  But  Job  reckons,  that,  to 
th'ise  who  are  in  misery,  it  is  iZ,f,ov  aSajiov — gif(  and 
no  gift,  a  gift  that  they  had  better  be  without, 
wiiile  the  light  only  serves  them  to  see  their  own 
miser)"  Ijy.  Such  is  the  vanity  of  human  life,  that 
it  sometimes  becomes  a  vexation  of  spirit;  and  so 
alterable  is  the  property  of  death,  that,  though 
d-eadful  to  nature,  it  may  become  even  desirable  to 
nature  itself.  ,  He  speaks  of  those  here,  (1.)  Who 
long  for  death,  when  they  have  out-lived  their  com- 
forts and  usefulness,  are  burthened  with  age  and  in- 
firmities, with  pain  or  sickness,  poverty  or  disgrace, 
ind  yet  it  comes  not;  while,  at  the  same  time,  it 
comes  to  many  who  dread  it,  and  would  put  it  far 
from  them.  The  continuance  and  period  of  life 
must  be  according  to  God's  will,  not  according  to 
our's.  It  is  not  fit  that  we  should  be  consulted  how 
long  we  would  live,  and  when  we  would  die;  our 
times  are  in  a  better  hand  than  our  own.  (2.)  Who 
dig  for  it  as  for  hid  treasures;  that  is,  would  give 
any  thing  for  a  fair  dismission  out  of  this  world, 
which  supposes  that  theii  the  thought  of  men's  lac- 
ing their  own  executioners  was  not  so  much  as  en- 
tertained or  suggested,  else  those  who  longed  for 
it  needed  not  take  much  pains  for  it,  they  might 
soon  come  at  it,  (as  Seneca  tells  them,)  if  they 
pleased.  (3. )  Who  bid  it  welcome,  and  are  glad 
when  they  can  find  the  grave,  and  see  themselves 
stepping  into  it.  If  the  miseries  of  this  life  can 
prevail,  contrary  to  nature,  to  make  death  itself  de- 
sirable, shall  not  much  more  the  hopes  and  pros- 
pects of  a  better  life,  to  which  death  is  our  passage, 
make  it  so,  and  set  us  quite  above  the  fear  of  it  ? 
It  may  be  a  sin  to  long  for  death,  but  I  am  sure  it  is 
no  sin  to  long  for  heaven. 

2.  He  thinks  himself,  in  particular,  hardly  dealt 
with,  that  he  might  not  be  eased  of  his  pam  and 
misery  by  death,  when  he  could  not  get  ease  any 
other  way.  To  be  thus  impatient  of  life,  for  the 
sake  of  the  troubles  we  meet  with,  is  not  only  un- 
natural in  itself,  but  ungrateful  to  the  Giver  of  life, 
and  argues  a  sinful  indulgence  of  our  own  passion, 
and  a  sinful  inconsideration  of  our  future  state.  Let 
it  be  our  great  and  constant  care  to  get  ready  for 
another  world,  and  then  let  us  leave  it  to  God  to 
order  the  circumstances  of  our  removal  thither  as 
he  thinks  fit;  "Lord,  when  and  how  thou  pleasest;" 
and  this  with  such  an  indifferency,  that  if  he  should 
refer  it  to  us,  we  would  refer  it  to  him  again.  Grace 
teaches  us,  in  the  midst  of  life's  greatest  comforts, 
to  be  willing  to  die,  and,  in  the  midst  of  its  greatest 
crosses,  to  be  willing  to  live. 

Job,  to  excuse  himself  in  this  earnest  desire  which 
he  had  to  die,  pleads  the  little  comfort  and  satis- 
faction he  had  in  life. 

(1.)  In  his  present  afflicted  state,  troubles  were 
continually  felt,  and  were  likely  to  be  so.  He 
thoue;ht  he  had  cause  enough  to  be  weary  of  living, 
for,  [1.]  He  had  no  comfort  of  his  life;  My  sighing 
comes  before  I  eat,  x>.  24.  The  sorrows  of  life 
prevented  and  anticipated  the  supports  of  life;  nay, 
they  took  away  his  appetite  for  his  necessarv  food. 
His  griefs  returned  as  duly  as  his  meals,  and  afflic- 
tion was  his  daily  bread.  Nay,  sra  great  was  the 
extremity  of  his  pain  and  anguish,  that  he  did  not 
only  sigh,  but  roar,  and  his  roarings  were  poured 
out  like  the  watei's  in  a  full  and  constant  stream. 
Our  Master  was  acquainted  with  grief,  and  we 
must  expect  to  be  so  too.  [2.]  He  had  no  pros- 
pect of  iiettering  his  condition,  his  way  was  hid, 
and  God  had  hedged  him  in,  v.  23.  He  saw  no 
way  open  of  deliverance,  nor  knew  he  what  course 


to  take;  his  way  was  hedged  ufi  with  thorns,  that 
he  could  not  find  his  path.     See  ch.  xxiii.  8.  Lim 
iii.  7. 

(2.)  Even  in  his  former  prosperous, state  troubles 
were  continually  feared;  so  that  theii  he  was  ne\er 
easy,  v.  25,  26.  He  knew  so  much  r  f  the  vanity 
of  the  world,  and  the  troubles  to  which,  rf  course, 
he  was  born,  that  he  was  not  in  safety,  neither  had 
he  rest  then.  That  which  made  his  grief  now  the 
more  grie\  ous,  was,  that  he  was  not  conscious  to 
himself  of  any  great  degree  either  of  negligence  or 
security  in  the  day  of  his  prosperity,  which  might 
provoke  God  thus  to  chastise  him.  [1.]  He  had 
not  been  negligent  and  unmindful  of  liis  affairs,  but 
kept  up  such  a  fear  of  trouble  as  was  necessaiy  to 
the  maintaining  of  his  guard:  he  was  afraid  for  his 
children,  when  they  were  feasting,  lest  they  should 
offend  God;  {ch.  i.  5.)  afraid  for  his  ser\ants,  lest 
the)  should  offend  his  neighbours;  he  took  all  the 
care  he  could  of  his  own  health,  and  managed 
himself  and  his  affairs  with  all  possible  precaution; 
yet  all  would  not  do.  [2.]  He  had  not  been  se- 
cure, nor  indulged  himself  in  ease  and  softness,  had 
not  trusted  in  his  wealth,  nor  flattered  himself  with 
the  hopes  of  the  perpetuity  of  his  mirth;  yet  trou- 
ble came,  to  convince  and  remind  him  of  the  vanity 
of  the  world,  which  yet  he  had  not  forgotten  when 
he  lived  at  ease.  Thus  his  way  was  hid,  for  he 
knew  not  wherefore  God  contended  with  him. 
Now  this  consideration,  instead  of  aggra\  ating  his 
grief,  might  rather  serve  to  alleviate  it:  nothing 
will  make  trouble  easy  so  much  as  the  testimony 
of  our  consciences  for  us,  that,  in  some  measure, 
we  did  our  di;*;,"  ,ii  a  day  of  prosperity:  and  an  ex- 
pectation of  ti'ouble  will  make  it  sit  the  lighter 
when  it  comes.  The  less  it  is  a  surprise,  the  less 
it  is  a  terroi*. 

CHAP.  IV. 

Job  having  warmly  given  vent  to  his  passion,  and  so  bro- 
ken the  ice,  his  friends  hore  come  gravely  tn  pive  vent 
to  their  judgment  upon  his  case;  uhich  pi  ihaps  they 
had  communicated  to  one  another  apart,  compared 
notes  upon  it,  and  talked  it  over  amonjr  themselves,  and 
found  they  were  all  agreed  in  their  verdict,  that  Job's 
afflictions  certainly  proved  him  to  have  been  a  hypo- 
crite; but  they  did  not  attack  Job  with  this  high  charge, 
till  by  the  expressions  of  his  discontent  and  impatience, 
in  which  they  thought  he  reflected  on  God  himself,  he 
had  confirmed  them  in  the  bnd  opinion  they  had  before 
conceived  of  him  and  his  character.  Now  they  set  upon 
him  with  great  fear.  The  dispute  begins,  and  it  soon 
becomes  fierce.  The  opponents  are  Job's  three  friends, 
Job  himself  is  icspondcnt,  Elihii  appears,  fir't,  as  mode- 
rator, and,  at  length,  God  himself  gives  judgment  upon 
the  controversy,  and  the  management  of  it.  The  ques- 
tion in  dispute,  is,  whether  Job  was  an  honest  man  or 
no?  The  same  question  that  was  in  dispute  between 
God  and  Satan  in  the  two  first  chapters.  Satan  had 
yielded  it,  and  durst  not  pretend  that  his  cursing  of  his 
day  was  a  constructive  cursing  of  his  God;  no,  he  can- 
not deny  but  that  Job  still  holds  fast  his  integrity;  but 
Job's  friends  will  needs  have  it,  that,  if  Job  were  an 
honest  man,  he  would  not  have  been  thus  sorely  and 
thus  tediously  afflicted,  and  therefore  urge  him  to  con- 
fess himself  a  hypocrite  in  the  profession  he  had  made 
of  religion  :  "  No,"  says  Job,  "  that  1  will  never  do  ;  I 
have  offended  God,  but  my  heart,  notwithstanding,  has 
been  upright  %vith  him;""  and  still  he  holds  fast  the 
comfort  of  his  integrity.  Eliphaz,  who,  it  is  likely,  was 
the  senior,  or  of  the  best  quality,  begins  with  him  in  this 
chapter;  in  which,  I.  He  bespeaks  a  patient  hearing,  v. 
2.  II.  He  compliments  Joh  with  an  acknowledgment 
of  the  eminency  and  usefulness  of  the  profession  he  had 
made  of  religion,  v.  S,  4.  III.  He  charges  him  ivith 
hvpocrisy  in  his  profession,  grounding  his  charge  upon 
his  present  troubles,  and  his  conduct  under  them,  v.  a,  6. 
IV.  To  make  good  the  inference,  he  maintains,  that 
man's  wickedness  is  that  which  always  brings  God's 
judgments,  v.  7.  .11.  V.  He  corroborates  his  assertion 
by  a  vision  which  he  had,  in  which  he  was  reminded  of 
the  incontestable  purity  and  justice  of  God,  and  th« 
meanness,  weakness,  and  sinfulness,  of  man,  v.  12.. 21. 


28 


JOB,  IV. 


By  all  this  he  aims  to  bring  down  Job's  spirit,  and  to  jl 
make  him  both  penitent  and  patient  under  liis  afflic-  ji 
tiotis. 

THEN  Elipliaz  the  Temanite  an- 
swered and  said,  2.  If  we  assay 
to  commune  with  thee,  wilt  thou  be  griev- 
ed ?  But  who  can  withhold  himself  from 
speaking  ?  3.  Behold,  thou  hast  instructed 
many,  and  thou  hast  strengthened  the  weak 
hands.  4.  Thy  words  have  upholden  him 
that  was  falling,  and  thou  hast  strengthened 
the  feeble  knees.  5.  But  now  it  is  come 
upon  tiiee,  and  thou  faintest;  it  toucheth 
thee,  and  thou  art  troubled.  6.  Is  not  this 
thy  fear,  thy  confidence,  the  uprightness  of 
thy  ways,  and  thy  hope  ? 

In  these  verses, 

1.  Eliphaz  excuses  the  trouble  he  is  now  about 
to  give  to  Job  by  his  discourse;  (t'.  2. )  "  If  we  assay 
a  word  with  thee,  offer  a  word  of  reproof  and  coun- 
sel, wilt  thou  be  grieved,  and  take  it  ill?  We  have 
reason  to  fear  thou  wilt:  but  there  is  no  remedy; 
Who  can  refrain  from  words?"  Observe,  1.  With 
what  modesty  he  speaks  of  himself  and  his  own 
attempt.  He  will  not  undertake  the  management 
of  the  cause  alone,  but  very  humbly  joins  his  friends 
with  him;  "We  will  commune  with  thee:"  they 
that  plead  God's  cause,  must  be  glad  of  help,  lest 
it  suffer  through  their  weakness.  He  will  not 
promise  much,  but  begs  leave  to  assay  or  attempt, 
and  try  if  he  could  propose  any  thing  that  might  be 
pertinent,  and  suit  Job's  case.  In  difficult  matters, 
it  becomes  us  to  pretend  no  further,  but  only  to  try 
what  mav  be  said  or  done.  Many  excellent  dis- 
courses have  gone  under  the  modest  title  of  Essays. 
2.  With  what  tenderness  he  speaks  of  Job,  and  his 
present  afflicted  condition;  **If  we  tell  thee  our 
mind,  wilt  thou  be  grieved?  Wilt  thou  take  it  ill? 
Wilt  thou  lay  it  to  thine  own  heart  as  thine  afflic- 
tion, or  to  our  charge  as  our  fault?  Shall  we  be 
reckoned  unkind  and  cruel,  if  we  deal  plainly  and 
f  uthfullv  with  thee?  We  desire  we  may  not,  we 
hope  we  shall  not,  and  should  be  sorry  if  that 
should  be  ill  resented  which  is  well  intended." 
Note,  We  ouu;ht  to  be  afraid  of  grieving  any,  espe- 
ciallv  those  that  are  already  in  grief,  lest  we  add 
affliction  to  the  afflicted,  as  David's  enemies,  Ps. 
Ixix.  26.  We  should  show  ourselves  backward 
to  say  that  which  we  foresee  will  be  grievous, 
though  ever  so  necessary.  God  himself,  though 
he  afflicts  justly,  vet  he  does  not  afflict  willinglv. 
Lam.  iii.  S.".  3.  With  what  assurance  he  speaks 
of  the  truth  and  pertinency  of  what  he  was  about 
to  say;  Who  can  tvithhold  himself  from  s/ieakirig? 
Surely  it  was  a  pious  zeal  for  God's  honour,  and 
the  spiritual  welfare  of  Job,  that  laid  him  under 
this  necessity  of  speaking;  "Who  can  forbear 
speaking  in  vindication  of  God's  honour,  which  we 
hear  reproved,  in  love  to  thy  soul,  which  we  see 
endangei-ed?"  Note,  It  is  foolish  pity  not  to  re- 
prove our  friends,  even  our  friends  in  affliction,  for 
what  they  sav  or  do  amiss,  only  for  fear  of  offend- 
ing them.  Whether  men  take  it  well  or  ill,  we 
must  with  wisdom  and  meekness  do  our  duty,  and 
discharge  a  Rood  conscience. 

II.   He  exhibits  a  twofold  charge  against  Job. 
1.  As  to  his  particvilar  conduct  under  this  afflic- 
tion;  he   charges  him  with    weakness   and    faint- 
heartedness; this  article  of  his  charge  there  was 
too  much  groimd  for,  v.  3 .  .  5.     And  here, 

(1.)  He  takes  notice  of  .Job's  former  serviceable- 
ness  to  the  comfort  of  others.  He  owns  that  Job 
had  instructed  many,  not  only  his  own  children  and 


ser\ants,  but  many  others,  his  neighbours  and 
friends,  as  many  as  fell  within  the  sphere  of  his 
activity.  He  did  not  only  encoui"igc  tiicse  who 
were  teachers  by  office  and  crunteudnce  them,  and 
pay  for  the  teaching  of  tliose  who  were  poor,  but 
he  did  himself  instruct  many:  though  a  great  man, 
he  did  not  think  it  below  him.  King  Solomon  was 
a  preacher:  though  a  man  of  business,  he  ffund 
time  to  do  it,  went  among  his  neighbours,  talked  to 
them  about  their  souls,  and  ga\  e  them  good  coun- 
sel. O  that  this  example  of  Job  were  iniitated  l)y 
our  great  men!  If  he  met  with  those  who  were 
ready  to  fall  into  sin,  or  sink  under  their  troubles, 
his  words  upheld  them:  a  wonderful  dcxteiity  he 
had  in  offering  that  which  was  ])roper  to  foi-tify 
persons  against  temptations,  to  support  them  under 
their  burthens,  and  to  comfort  affli  ted  consciences. 
He  had,  and  used,  the  tongue  of  the  learned,  knew 
how  to  speak  a  word  in  season  to  them  that  were 
weary,  and  employed  himself  much  in  that  good 
work.  With  suitable  counsels  and  comforts  he 
strengthened  the  weak  hands  for  w(  rk  and  service 
and  the  spiritual  warfare,  and  the  feeble  knees  for 
bearing  up  the  man  in  his  journey  and  under  his 
load.  It  is  not  our  duty  only  to  lift  up  our  own 
hands,  that  haiig  down,  by  quickening  and  encou- 
raging ourselves  in  the  way  of  duty,  (Heb.  xii.  12.) 
but  we  must  also  strengthen  the  weak  hands  of 
others,  as  there  is  occasion,  and  do  what  we  can 
to  confirm  their  feeble  knees,  by  saying  to  them 
that  are  of  a  fearful  heart.  Be  strong,  Isn.  xxxv. 
3,  4.  1  he  expressions  seem  to  be  borrowed 
thence.  Note,  They  who  have  abundance  of 
spiritual  riclies,  should  abound  in  spiritual  charity. 
A  good  word,  well  and  wisely  spoken,  may  do 
more  good  than  perhaps  we  think  of. 

But  why  does  Eliphaz  mention  this  here?  [1.] 
Perhaps  he  praises  him  thus  for  the  good  he  had 
done,  that  he  might  make  the  intended  reproof  the 
more  passable  with  him.  Just  commendation  is  a 
good  preface  to  a  just  reprehension,  will  help  to 
remove  prejudices,  and  will  show  that  the  reiirocf 
comes  not  from  ill-will.  Paul  praised  the  C'  rin- 
thians  before  he  chid  them,  1  Cor.  xi.  2.  [2.]  He 
remembers  how  Job  had  comforted  others  as  a 
reason  why  he  might  justly  expect  to  be  himself 
comforted;  and  yet,  if  conviction  was  necessary  in 
order  to  comfort,  they  nnist  be  excused  if  tliey 
applied  themselves  to  that  first:  the  Comforter 
shall  refirove,  John  xvi.  8.  [3.]  He  speaks  this, 
perhaps,  in  away  of  pity,  lamenting,  tlnit,  thrrut'h 
the  extremity  of  his  affliction,  he  cf  uld  not  apj)ly 
those  comforts  to  himself  which  he  had  formerly 
administered  to  others.  It  is  easier  to  ^^xe  good 
counsel  than  to  take  it;  to  preach  meekness  and 
patience  than  to  practise  them.  Facile  onnw.i, 
cum  valemus,  rectum  concilium  Fegrotis  damns — 
JVe  all  find  it  easy,  when  in  health,  to  gii-e  good 
advice  to  the  sick.  Terent.  [4.]  Most  think  th-,t 
he  mentions  it  as  an  aggravation  of  his  present  dis- 
content, upbraiding  him  with  his  knowledge,  md 
the  good  offices  he  had  done  for  others,  as  if  he 
had  said,  "Thou  th;it  hast  taught  others,  why  dr st 
not  thou  teach  thyself?  Is  not  this  an  evidence  '^f 
thine  hypocrisy,  that  thou  hast  prescribed  thi't 
medicine  to  others  which  thou  wilt  not  now  titke 
thyself,  and  so  contradictcst  thyself,  and  actest 
against  thine  own  known  principles^  Thmi  th;'.t 
teachest  another  not  to  faint,  dost  tlnni  faint?  Hrm. 
ii.  21.  Physician,  heal  thyself. "  They  who  h:\\e 
rebuked  others,  must  expect  to  hear  of  it,  if  they 
themselves  become  obnoxious  to  rcliuke. 

(2.)  He  upbraids  him  with  his  present  low-spirit- 
edness, V.  5.  "Now  that  it  is  come  upon  thee, 
now  that  it  is  thy  turn  to  be  afflicted,  and  the  bitter 
cup,  that  goes  round,  is  put  into  thy  hand,  now  that 
it  touches  thee,  thou  faintest,  thou  art  troubled  * 


JOB,  IV. 


sy 


Here,  [1.]  He  maKes  loo  light  of  Job's  afflictions; 
"It  touches  thee."  The  very  word  that  Satan 
h.niself  had  used,  ch.  i.  11. — ii.  5.  Had  Eliphaz 
felt  but  tiie  one  half  of  Job's  afflictions,  he  would 
have  said,  "It  smites  me,  it  wounds  me;"  but, 
spitaking  of  Job's  afflictions,  he  makes  a  mere  trifle 
of  It;  "It  touches  thee,  and  thou  canst  not  bear  to 
be  lo  iched;"  jYoli  me  tangere —  Touch  me  not.  [2.  ] 
He  makes  too  much  of  Job's  resentments,  and  ag- 
gravates them;  "Thou  faintest,  or  thou  art  beside 
thyself;  thou  ravest,  and  knowest  not  what  thou 
sayest. "  Men  in  deep  distress  must  have  grains  of 
allowance,  and  a  favourable  construction  put  upon 
what  tliey  say;  when  we  make  the  worst  of  every 
word,  we  do  not  as  we  would  be  done  by. 

2.  As  to  his  general  character  before  this  afflic- 
tion, he  charges  hiai  with  wickedness  and  false- 
heartedness;  that  article  of  his  charge  was  utterly 
groundless  and  unjust.  How  unkindly  does  he 
banter  him,  and  upbraid  him  with  the  great  pro- 
fession of  religion  he  had  made,  as  if  it  were  all 
now  come  to  nothing,  and  proved  a  sham;  {v.  6.) 
"Is  not  this  thy  fear,  thy  confidence,  thy  hofie,  and 
the  ujirightnesH  of  thy  ways?  Does  it  not  all  appear 
now  to  be  a  mere  pretence?  For,  hadst  thou  been 
sincere  in  it,  God  would  not  thus  have  afflicted 
thee,  nor  wouldest  thou  have  behaved  thus  under 
the  affliction."  This  was  the  very  thing  Satan 
aimed  at,  to  prove  Job  a  hypocrite,  and  disprove 
the  character  God  had  given  of  hini:  wlien  he 
could  no:  himself  do  this  to  God,  but  He  still  saw 
and  said.  Job  is  fierfect  and  upright,  then  he  en- 
deavoured, by  his  friends,  to  do  it  to  Job  himself, 
and  to  persuade  him  to  confess  himself  a  hypocrite: 
coald  he  ha\e  gained  tliat  point,  he  would  have 
triumphed,  Hahes  conjitentem  reum — Out  of  thine 
own  mouth  will  I  cojidemn  thee.  But,  by  the 
grace  of  God,  Job  was  enabled  to  hold  fast  his 
integrity,  and  would  not  bear  false  witness  against 
himself  Nijte,  Those  that  pass  rash  and  unchari- 
tal:)le  censures  upon  their  brethren,  and  condemn 
them  for  hypocrites,  do  Satan's  work,  and  serve 
his  interest,  more  than  they  are  aware  of,  I  know 
not  how  it  comes  to  pass  that  this  verse  is  diffe- 
rently read  in  several  editions  of  our  common  Eng- 
lish Bibles;  the  original,  and  all  the  ancient  ver- 
sions, put  thy  hope  before  the  uprightness  of  thy 
ways.  So  does  the  Geneva  and  most  of  the  edi- 
tions of  the  last  translation;  but  I  find  one  of  the 
first,  in  1612,  has  it.  Is  not  this  thy  fear,  thy  confi- 
dence, the  uprightness  of  thy  ways,  and  thy  hope? 
Both  the  Assembly's  Annotations,  and  Mr.  Poole's, ' 
ha^•e  that  reading;  and  an  edition  in  1660  reads  it, 
"7s  not  thy  fear  thy  confidence,  and  the  upright- 
ness of  thy  ways  thy  hope?  Does  it  not  appear 
now,  that  all  the  religion,  both  of  thy  devotion,  and 
of  thy  conversation,  was  only  in  hope  and  confi- 
dence that  thiu  shouldest  grow  rich  by  it?  Was  it 
not  all  mercenary^"  The  very  thing  that  Satan 
suggested.  Is  not  thy  religion  thy  hope,  and  thy 
right  ways  thy  confidence?  So  Mr.  Broughton. 
Or,  "Was  it  not?  Didst  thou  not  think  that  that 
would  hive  been  thy  protection?  But  thou  art  de- 
ceived." Or,  "Would  it  not  have  been  so?  If  it 
had  been  sincere,  would  it  not  have  kept  thee  from 
this  despair?"  It  is  true,  if  thou  faint  in  the  day 
of  adversity,  thy  strength,  thy  grace,  is  small; 
(Prov.  xxiv.  10.)  but  it  does  not  therefore  follow 
that  thou  hast  nn  grace,  no  strength  at  all.  A 
man's  character  is  not  to  be  taken  from  a  single  act. 

7.  Remember,  I  pray  thee,  who  ever 
perished,  being  innocent  ?  or  where  were 
the  righteous  cut  off?  8.  Even  as  I  have 
seen,  they  that  plow  iniquity,  and  sow 
wickedness;  reap   the   same.      9.    By  the 


blast  of  God  they  perish,  and  by  the  breath 
of  his  nostrils  are  they  consumed.  10.  Tiie 
roaring  of  the  lion,  and  the  voice  of  the 
fierce  lion,  and  the  teeth  of  the  young  lions, 
are  broken.  1 1 .  The  old  lion  perisheth  ibr 
lack  of  prey,  and  the  stout  lion's  whelps 
are  scattered  abroad. 

Eliphaz  here  advances  another  argument  to 
prove  Job  a  hypocrite,  and  will  have  not  only  his 
impatience  under  his  afflictions  to  be  evidence 
against  him,  but  even  his  afflictions  themselves, 
being  so  very  great  and  extraordinary,  and  there  be- 
ing no  prospect  at  all  of  his  deliverance  out  of  them. 

To  strengthen  this  argument,  he  here  lays  down 
these  two  principles,  which  seem  plausible  enough. 

I.  That  good  men  were  never  thus  ruined:  for 
the  proof  of  this,  he  appeals  to  Job's  own  observa- 
titn;  {v.  7.)  "Remember,  I  pray  thee;  recollect  all 
that  thou  hast  seen,  heard,  or  read,  and  give  me 
an  instance  of  any  one  that  was  innocent  and 
righteous,  and  yet  perished  as  thou  dost,  and  w;is 
cut  off  as  thou  art."  If  we  understand  it  of  a  final 
and  eternal  destniction,  his  principle  is  true.  None 
that  are  innocent  and  righteous,  perish  for  ever:  it 
is  only  a  man  of  sin  that  is  a  son  of  perdition,  2 
Thess.  ii.  3.  But  then  it  is  ill  applied  to  Job;  he 
did  not  thus  perish,  nor  was  he  cut  off:  a  man  is 
never  undone  till  he  is  in  hell.  But,  if  we  under- 
stand it  of  any  temporal  calamity,  his  principle  is 
not  true.  The  righteous  perish;  (Isa.  Ivii.  1.)  There 
is  one  event  both  to  the  righteous  and  to  the  wicked, 
(Eccl.  ix.  2.)  both  in  life  and  death;  the  great  and 
certain  difference  is  after  death.  Even  before  Job's 
time,  (as  early  as  it  was,)  there  were  instances 
sufficient  to  contradict  this  principle.  Did  not  righ- 
teous .4bel  perish  being  innocent;  and  was  not  he 
cut  off  in  the  beginning  of  his  days?  Was  not 
righteous  Lot  burnt  out  of  house  and  harbour,  and 
forced  to  retire  to  a  melancholy  cave?  Was  not 
righteous  Jacob,  a  Syrian,  ready  to  perish?  Deut. 
xxvi.  5.  Similar  instances,  no  doubt,  there  were, 
which  are  not  on  record. 

II.  That  wicked  men  were  often  thus  ruined:  for 
the  proof  of  this,  he  vouches  his  own  observation ; 
(v.  8.)  "Even  as  I  have  seen,  many  a  time,  77ifj/ 
that  plough  iniquity,  and  sew  wickedness,  by  the 
blast  of  God  they  perish,  v.  9.  We  ha',  e  daily  in- 
stances rf  that;  and  therefore,  since  thou  dost  thus 
perish,  and  art  consumed,  we  have  reason  to  think 
that,  whatever  profession  of  religion  thcu  hast  made, 
ihouhastbutploughed iniquity ,  andsown wickedness. 
Even  as  I  have  seen  in  others,  so  do  I  see  in  tlu-e." 

I.  He  speaks  of  sinners  in  general,  politic  busy 
sinners,  that  take  pains  in  sin,  for  they  plough  ini- 
quity; and  expect  gain  by  sin,  for  they  sow  wicked- 
ness: they  that  plough,  plovigh  in  hope;  but  what  is 
the  issuer  They  reap  the  same:  they  shall,  of  the 
fesh,  reap  corruptioji  and  ruin,  Gal.  vi.  7,  8.  The 
harvest  will  l)e  a  heap  in  the  day  of  grief  and  des- 
perate sorrow,  Isa.  xvii.  11.  He  shall  reap  the 
same,  that  is,  the  proper  product  of  that  seedness: 
that  which  the  sinner  sows,  he  sows  not  that  bodv 
that  shall  be,  but  Gnd  will  give  it  a  body,  a  brdy  rf 
death,  the  erid  of  those  things,  Rom.  vi.  21.  Somi% 
by  iniquity  and  wickedness,  luiderstand  wrong  nnd 
injury  done  to  others;  they  who  plough  and  sow 
them,  shall  reap  the  same,  that  is,  they  shall  be 
paid  in  their  own  coin.  They  who  are  trouble- 
some, shall  be  troubled,  2  Thess.  i.  6.  Josh,  -v  ii.  25. 
The  sfioilers  shall  be  spoiled;  Isa.  xxxiii.  1.  (and 
they  that  led  captive,  shall  go  captive,)  Rev.  xiii.  10. 

He  further  describes  their  destruction;  {v.  9.) 
By  the  blast  of  God  they  perish.  The  prcjccts; 
they  take  so  much  pains  in,  are  defeated;  God  cuts 


30 


JOB,  IV. 


in  sunder  the  cords  of  those  ploughers,  Ps.  cxxix. 
3,  4.  They  tliemseh  es  are  destri.yl:cl,  which  is  the 
just  punish'meiit  of  tliea-  iniquity.  They  perish, 
that  is,  tliey  are  destroyed  utterly;  they  are  con- 
sumed, th.it  is,  they  are  destroyed  gradually;  and 
this,  Ijy  the  blast  and  breath  of  God,  that  is,  (1.) 
By  his  wrath:  his  anger  is  the  ruin  of  sinners,  who 
f'.re  therenire  caled  vessels  of  -wrcith,  and  his 
breath  is  said  f,o  Ic'mdle  'I'ofiliet,  Isa.  xxx.  33.  Who 
knows  the  /iowe7-  of  his  anger  ■^  Ps.  xc.  11.  (2.)  By 
ins  word;  he  speaks,  and  it  is  done,  easily  and  ef- 
fectually. The  Spirit  of  God,  in  the  word,  con- 
sumes sinners;  with  that  he  slays  them,  Hos.  vi.  5. 
Saying  and  doing  are  not  two  tilings  with  God. 
The  man  of  s;n  is  said  to  be  consumed  with  the 
breath  of  Christ's  mouth,  2  Thess.  ii.  8.  Compare 
Isa.  xi.  4.  Rev.  xix.  21.  Some  think,  that  in  attri- 
buting the  destruction  of  sinners  to  the  blast  of  God, 
and  the  breath  of  his  nostrils,  he  refers  to  the  wind 
which  blew  the  house  down  upon  Job's  children,  as 
if  they  were  therefore  siimers  above  all  men,  be- 
cause they  suffered  such  things,  Luke  xiii.  2. 

2.  He  speaks  particularly  of  tyrants  and  cruel 
oppressors,  under  the  similitude  of  lions,  v.  10,  11. 
Observe,  (1.)  How  he  describes  their  ciuelty  and 
oppression.  The  Hebrew  tongue  has  five  several 
names  for  lions,  and  they  are  all  here  used  to  set 
forth  the  terrible  tearing  power,  fierceness,  and 
cruelty,  of  pi-oud  op])ressors;  they  roar,  and  rend, 
and  prey,  upon  all  about  them,  and  bring  up  their 
young  ones  to  do  so  too,  Ezek.  xix.  3.  The  Devil 
IS  a  roaring  lion;  and  they  partake  of  his  nature, 
and  do  his  lusts.  Thev  are  strong  as  lions,  and 
subtle;  (Ps.  x.  9. — xviii  12.)  and,  as  far  as  they 
prevail,  lay  all  desolate  about  them.  (2.)  How  he 
describes  their  destruction;  the  destruction  both  of 
their  p-nver  and  of  their  persons;  they  shall  be  re- 
strained from  doing  further  hurt,  and  reckoned  with 
for  the  hurt  they  h:ive  done.  An  effectual  course 
shall  be  taken,  [1.]  That  they  shall  not  terrify;  the 
voice  of  their  roaring  shall  be  stopped.  [2.]  That 
they  shall  not  tear;  God  will  disarm  them,  will  take 
away  their  power  to  do  hurt,  the  teeth  of  the  young 
liojis  are  broken,  Ps.  iii.  7.  Thus  shall  tlie  remain- 
der of  wrath  be  restrained.  [3.]  That  they  shall 
not  enrich  themselves  with  the  spoil  of  their  neigh- 
bours. Even  the  old  lion  is  famished,  and  perishes 
for  lack  of  prey :  they  that  have  surfeited  on  spoil 
and  rapine,  are  perhaps  reduced  to  such  straits  as 
to  die  of  !iun:i;er  at  last.  [4.]  That  they  shall  not, 
as  they  promise  themselves,  leave  a  succession;  the 
stout  lion's  whel/2s  are  scattered  abroad,  to  seek  for 
food  themselves,  which  the  old  ones  used  to  bring 
in  for  them,  Nah.  ii.  12.  The  lion  did  tear  in  pieces 
for  his  ".vhelps,  but  now  they  must  shift  for  them- 
selves. Perhajjs  Eliphaz  intended,  in  this,  to  re- 
flect upon  Job,  as  if  he,  being  the  greatest  of  all  the 
men  of  the  east,  had  got  his  estate  by  spoil,  and 
used  his  power  in  oppressing  his  neighbours;  but 
now,  his  ]30wer  and  estate  were  gone,  and  his  fami- 
Iv  scattered:  if  so,  it  was  pity  that  a  man  whom 
God  praised,  should  be  thus  abused. 

2.  Now  a  thing  was  secretly  brought  to 
me,  and  mine  ear  received  a  httle  thereof. 
1 3.  In  thouglits  from  the  visions  of  the  night, 
when  deep  sleep  falleth  on  men,  1 4.  Fear 
came  upon  me,  and  trembling,  which  made 
all  my  bones  to  shake.  15.  Then  a  spirit 
passed  before  my  face  ;  the  hair  of  my  flesh 
.stood  up  :  1 6.  It  stood  still,  but  I  could  not 
discern  the  form  thereof:  an  image  ?/r/,9 
Ix'fore  mine  eyes;  thnre  was  silence,  and  I 
heard   a  voice,  saijing,     17.  Shall  mortal 


man  be  more  just  than  God?  shall  [i  man 
be  more  pure  than  his  Maker  /  1 8.  Beholci, 
he  put  no  trust  in  his  servants;  and  his  an- 
gels he  charged  with  folly  :  19.  View  nnich 
less  o/<  them  that  dwell  in  houses  off|;iy, 
whose  foundation  is  in  the  dust,  7r/iicn  hiv. 
crushed  before  the  moth  ?  20.  They  are 
destroyed  from  morning  to  evening:  they 
perish  for  ever,  without  any  regarding  if.  2 1 . 
Doth  not  their  excellency  it'/iich  is  in  them 
go  away?  they  die,  even  without  wisdom. 

Eliphaz,  having  undertaken  to  convince  Job  of  the 
sin  and  folly  of  his  discontent  and  impatience,  here 
vouches  a  vision  he  had  been  favoured  with,  which 
he  relates  to  Job  for  his  conviction.  What  comes 
immediately  from  God,  all  men  will  pay  a  particu- 
lar deference  to,  and  Job,  no  doubt,  as  much  as  ;my. 
Some  think  Eliphaz  had  this  vision  now  lately,  since 
he  came  to  Job,  putting  words  into  his  mouth 
wherewith  to  reason  with  him;  and  it  had  been  well 
if  he  had  kept  to  the  purport  of  this  \ision,  which 
would  ser\  e  for  a  ground  on  which  to  repro\  e  Job 
for  his  murmuring,  but  not  to  condemn  him  for  a 
hvpocrite.  Others  think  he  had  \t  formerly;  for  God 
dicl  in  this  way  often  communicate  himself  to  the 
children  of  men  in  those  first  ages  of  the  world,  ch. 
xxxiii.  15.  Probably,  God  had  sent  Eliphaz  this 
messenger  and  message  some  time  or  other,  when 
he  was  himself  in  an  unquiet  discontented  frame,  to 
calm  and  pacify  him.  Note,  As  we  should  comfort 
others  with  that  wherewith  we  have  been  comfort- 
ed, (2  Cor.  i.  4.)  so  we  should  endeavour  toconvince 
others  with  that  which  has  been  powerful  to  con- 
vince us. 

The  people  of  God  had  not  then  any  written  word 
to  quote,  and  therefore  God  sometimes  notified  to 
them  e\  en  common  truths,  by  the  exti-aordinary 
ways  y.^  re\elatinn.  We  that  have  Bibles,  have 
there  (thai.!?s  be  to  God)  a  more  sure  word  to  de- 
pend upon  than  even  visions  and  voices,  2  Pet.  i.  19. 

Observe, 

I.  The  manner  in  which  this  message  was  sent 
to  Eliphaz,  and  the  circumstances  of  the  convey- 
ance of  it  to  him.  1.  It  was  brought  him  secretly, 
or  by  stealth;  some  of  the  sweetest  communion  gra- 
cious souls  have  with  God,  is  in  secret,  where  he 
only,  who  is  all  eye,  can  perceive.  God  has  ways 
olt  bringing  conviction,  counsel,  and  comfort,  to  his 
people,  unobserved  by  the  world,  by  private  whis- 
pers, as  powerfully  and  effectually  as  by  the  public 
ministry.  His  secret  is  vjith  them,  Ps.  xxv.  14.  As 
the  evil  spirit  often  steals  good  words  out  of  the 
heart,  (Matth.  xiii.  19.)  so  the  good  Spirit  some- 
times steals  good  words  into  the  heart,  or  ever  we 
are  aware.  2.  He  received  a  little  thereof  x'.  12. 
And  it  is  but  little  of  divine  knowledge  that  the  best 
receive  in  this  world:  we  know  little,  in  comparison 
with  what  is  to  be  known,  and  with  what  we  sh:ill 
know  when  we  come  to  heaven.  How  little  a  por- 
tion is  heard  of  God!  ch.  xxvi.  14.  We  knonvbut  in 
part,  1  Cor.  xiii.  12.  See  his  humility  and  m«'des- 
ty.  He  pretends  not  to  have  understood  it  fully, 
but  something  of  it  he  perceived.  3.  It  was  brought 
him  in  the  visions  of  the  night;  {v.  13.)  when  he 
was  retired  from  the  world  and  the  hurrv  of  it,  and 
all  about  him  was  composed  and  quiet.  Kotc,  The 
more  we  are  withdrawn  from  the  world  and  the 
things  of  it,  the  fitter  we  are  for  comnumion  with 
(iod.  W'hen  we  are  communing  with  our  own 
hearts,  and  are  still,  (Ps.  iv.  4.)  then  is  a  proper 
time  for  the  Holy  Spirit  to  commune  with  us. 
\N  hen  others  were  aslee]>,  Eliphaz  was  rcadv  tr 
receive  thisxision  fi'om  Heaven,  and  pr«b:ibly,  likt 
Da\id,  was   meditating  upon    God  in   the  night 


JOB,  IV. 


31 


ivatches:  in  the  midst  ot  those  good  thoughts,  this 
tiling  was  brought  to  him.  We  should  hear  more 
from  God,  if  we  tliought  more  of  him;  yet  some  are 
surprised  with  convictions  in  the  night,  ch.  xxxiii. 

14,  15.  4.  It  was  prefaced  with  terrors;  Fear 
rume  upon  him,  and  tremhl'mg,  v.  14.  It  should 
seem,  before  he  either  heard  or  saw  any  thing,  he 
was  seized  with  this  trembling,  which  shook  his 
bones,  and  perhaps  the  bed  under  him.  A  holy 
awe  and  reverence  of  God  and  his  majesty  being 
struck,  upon  his  spirit,  he  was  thereby  prepared  for 
a  divine  visit.  Whom  God  intends  to  honour,  he 
first  humbles  and  lays  low,  and  will  have  us  all  to 
serve  him  with  holy  fear,  and  to  rejoice  with  trem- 
bling. 

II.  The  messenger  by  whom  it  was  sent;  a  spirit, 
one  of  the  good  angels,  who  are  employed  not  only 
as  the  ministers  of  God's  providence,  but  sometimes 
as  the  ministers  of  his  word.  Concerning  this  ap- 
parition which  Eliphaz  saw,  we  are  here  told,  (zi. 

15,  16.)  1.  That  it  was  real,  and  not  a  dream,  not 
a  fancy;  an  image  was  before  his  eyes,  he  plainly 
saw  it;  at  first,  it  passed  and  repassed  before  his 
face,  moved  up  and  down,  but,  at  length,  it  stood 
still  to  speak  to  him.  If  some  have  been  so  knavish 
as  to  impose  false  \  isions  on  others,  and  some  so 
foolish  as  to  be  themselves  imposed  upon,  it  does 
not,  therefore,  follow  that  there  have  been  no  ap- 
paritions of  spirits,  botli  good  and  bad.  2.  That  it 
was  indistinct,  and  somewhat  confused.  He  could 
not  discern  the  form  thereof,  so  as  to  frame  any  ex- 
act idea  of  it  in  his  own  mind,  much  less  to  give  a 
description  of  it.  His  conscience  was  to  be  awak- 
ened and  informed,  not  his  curiosity  gratified.  We 
know  little  of  spirits,  we  are  not  capable  of  knowing 
much  of  them,  nor  is  it  fit  we  should;  all  in  good 
time;  we  must  shortly  remove  to  the  world  of  spi- 
rits, and  shall  then  be  better  acquainted  with  them. 
3.  That  it  put  him  into  a  great  consternation,  so 
that  his  hair  stood  .on  end.  Ever  since  man  sinned, 
it  has  been  terrible  to  him  to  receive  an  express  from 
Heaven,  as  conscious  to  himself  that  he  can  expect 
no  good  tidings  thence;  apparitions,  therefore,  even 
of  good  spirits,  have  always  made  deep  impressions 
of  fear,  even  upon  good  men.  How  well  is  it  for  us, 
that  God  sends  us  his  messages,  not  by  spirits,  but 
by  men  like  ourselves,  whose  terror  shall  not  make 
us  afraid!  See  Dan.  vii.  28. — x.  8,  9. 

III.  The  message  itself;  before  it  was  delivered, 
there  was  silence,  profound  silence,  v.  16.  When 
we  are  to  speak  either  from  God,  or  to  him,  it  be- 
comes us  to  address  ourselves  to  it  with  a  solemn 
pause,  and  so  to  set  bounds  about  the  mount  on 
which  God  is  to  come  down,  and  not  be  hasty  to 
utter  any  thing.  It  was  in  a  still  small  voice  that 
the  message  was  delivered,  and  this  was  it,  {v.  17.) 
''Shall  mortal  7nan  be  more  just  than  God,  the  im- 
mortal God?  Shall  a  man  be  thought  to  be,  or  pre- 
tend to  be,  more  fiure  than  his  Maker?  Away  with 
such  a  thought!"  1.  Some  think  that  Eliphaz  aims 
hereby  to  prove  that  Job's  great  afflictions  were  a 
certain  evidence  of  his  being  a  wicked  man;  a  mor- 
tal man  would  be  thought  unjust  and  very  impure, 
if  he  should  thus  correct  and  punish  a  servant  or 
subject,  unless  he  had  been  guilty  of  some  \ery 
great  crime.  "If,  therefore,  these  were  not  some 
great  crimes  for  which  God  thus  punishes  thee, 
man  would  be  more  just  than  God,  which  is  not  to 
be  imagined."  2.  I  rather  think  it  is  onlv  a  reproof 
of  Job's  murmuring  and  discontent;  "Shall  a  man 
pretend  to  be  more  just  and  pure  than  God?  More 
truly  to  understand,  and  more  strictly  to  observe, 
t'le  rules  and  laws  of  equity,  than  God?  Shall 
Enosh,  mortal,  miserable,  man,  be  so  insolent;  nay, 
shall  Geher,  the  strongest  and  most  eminent  man — 
man  at  his  best  estate,  pretend  to  compare  with 
God,  or  stand  in  competition  with  him?"     Note,  It 


is  most  impious  and  absurd  to  think  either  others 
or  ourselves  more  just  and  pure  than  God.  Thosi- 
that  quarrel  &nd  find  fault  with  the  directions  of  the 
divine  law,  the  dispensations  of  the  divine  grace, 
or  the  disposals  of  the  divine  providence,  make 
themselves  more  just  and  pure  than  God;  and  they 
who  thus  refirove  God,  let  them  aiisnver  it.  What! 
sinful  ma*  1  (for  he  had  not  been  mortal,  if  he  had  not 
been  sinful!)  short-sighted  man!  Shall  he  pretend 
to  be  more  just,  more  pure,  than  God,  who,  being 
his  Maker,  is  his  I..ord  and  Owner?  Shall  the  clay 
contend  with  the  potter?  What  justi(  e  and  purity 
there  is  in  man,  (iod  is  the  Author  of  it,  and  there- 
fore is  himself  moi-e  just  and  pure.  See  Ps.  xciv. 
9,  10. 

IV.  The  comment  which  Eliphaz  makes  upon 
this,  for  so  it  seems  to  be;  yet  some  take  all  the 
following  verses  to  be  spoken  in  vision.  It  comes 
all  to  one. 

1.  He  shows  how  little  the  angels  themselves  are 
in  comparison  with  God,  v.  18.  Angels  are  God's 
servants,  waiting  servants,  woi'king  ser\ants,  they 
are  his  ministers;  (Ps.  civ.  4.)  bright  and  blessed 
things  they  are;  but  God  neither  needs  them,  oor  is 
benefitted  by  them,  and  is  himself  infinitelv  above 
them;  and  therefore,  (1.)  He  put  no  trust  in  them, 
did  not  repose  a  confidence  in  them,  as  we  do  in 
those  we  cannot  live  without;  there  is  no  service  in 
which  he  employs  them,  but,  if  he  pleased,  he 
could  have  it  done  as  well  without  them.  He  nevei 
made  them  his  confidants,  or  of  his  cabinet-council, 
Matth.  xxiv.  36.  He  does  not  leave  his  business 
wholly  to  them,  bwt  his  own  eyes  ru7i  to  and  fro 
through  the  earth,  2Chron.  xvi.  9.  See  this  phrase, 
ch.  xxxix.  11.  Some  give  this  sense  of  it,  "So 
mutable  is  even  the  angelical  nature,  that  God 
would  not  trust  angels  with  tlieir  own  integrity;  if 
he  had,  they  would  all  have  done,  as  some  did,  left 
their  first  estate;  but  he  saw  it  necessary  to  give 
them  supernatural  grace  to  confirm  them.  "(2.) 
He  charges  them  with  folly,  vanity,  weakness,  in- 
firmity, and  imperfection,  in  comparison  with  God. 
If  the  world  were  left  to  the  government  of  tlie  an 
gels,  and  they  were  trusted  with  the  sole  manage- 
ment of  aflairs,  they  would  take  false  steps,  and 
every  thing  would  not  be  done  for  the  best,  as  now 
it  is.  Angels  are  intelligences,  but  finite  ones. 
Though  not  chargeable  with  iniquity,  yet  with  im- 
prudence. This  last  clause  is  variously  rendered 
by  the  critics.  I  think  it  would  bear  this  read- 
ing, repeating  the  negation,  which  is  very  common. 
He  will  put  no  trust  in  his  saints.  In  angelis  snis 
non  fionet  gloria/ionem — .Yor  will  he  glory  in  his 
angels,  or  ?nake  his  boast  of  them,  as  if  their  praises 
or  services  added  any  thing  to  him:  it  is  his  glory, 
that  he  is  infinitely  happy  without  them. 

2.  Thence  he  infers  how  much  less  man  is,  how 
much  less  to  be  trusted  in,  or  gk ried  in:  if  there  is 
such  distance  between  God  and  angels,  what  is 
there  between  Gvx\  and  man!  See  how  man  is  re- 
presented here  in  his  meanness. 

(1.)  Look  upon  man  in  his  life,  and  he  is  uery 
mean,  xk  19.  Take  man  in  his  best  estate,  and  he 
is  a  very  despicable  creature  in  comparison  with  the 
holy  angels;  though  honourable,  if  compared  with 
the  brutes.  It  is  true,  angels  are  spirits,  and  tin. 
souls  of  men  are  spirits;  but,  [1.]  Angels  are  pure 
j  spirits,  the  souls  of  men  dwell  in  houses  of  clay, 
such  the  bodies  of  men  are.  Angels  are  free,  hu- 
man souls  are  housed,  and  the  body  is  a  cloud,  a 
clog,  to  it,  it  is  its  cage,  it  is  its  prison.  It  is  a  house 
of  clay,  mean  and  mouldering;  an  earthen  vessel, 
soon  broken,  as  it  was  first  formed,  according  to 
the  good  pleasure  of  the  potter.  It  is  a  cottage,not 
a  house  of  cedar,  or  a  house  of  ivory,  but  of  clav, 
which  would  soon  be  in  ruins,  if  not  kept  in  constant 
repair.     [2.]  Angels  are  fixed;  but  the  very  foun 


32 


JOB,  V. 


dation  of  that  house  of  clay  in  which  man  dwells, 
is  in  the  dust.  ,\  house  of  clay,  if  built  upon  a 
rock,  might  stand  long;  hut,  if  fduni'.C'd  jn  the  dust, 
the  uncertainty  of  the  f  )iuiJation  will  hasten  its  fall, 
and  it  will  sink  with  its  own  weight.  As  man  was 
made  out  of  the  earth,  so  he  is  maintained  and  sup- 
ported by  that  which  conies  out  of  the  earth.  Take 
away  that,  and  his  b'  dy  returns  to  its  eartl^  We 
stand  but  up(<n  the  dust;  some  lia'.  e  a  higher  heap 
of  dust  to  stand  upon  than  others,  but  still  it  is  the 
tai'th  that  stays  us  up,  and  will  shoitly  swallow  us 
u]).  [3.]  Angels  are  immortal,  but  man  is  soon 
crushed,  the  earthly  house  of  his  tabernacle  is  dis- 
solved, he  dies  and  wastes  away,  is  crushed  like  a 
moth  lietween  one's  fingers,  as  easily,  as  quickly; 
one  may  alinost  as  soon  kill  a  man  as  kill  a  moth.  A 
little  thing  will  do  it;  he  is  crwihcd  before  the  face 
of  the  moth,  so  the  word  is.  If  s(  me  lingering  dis- 
temper, which  consumes  like  a  moth,  be  commis- 
sioned to  destroy  him,  he  can  no  more  resist  it  than 
he  can  resist  an  acute  distemper,  which  comes  i-oar- 
ing  upon  him  like  a  lion.  See  Hos.  v.  12,  14.  Is 
such  a  creature  as  this  to  be  trusted  in,  or  can  any 
service  be  expected  from  him,  by  that  God  who 
puts  no  trust  in  angels  themselves? 

(2.)  Look  upon  him  in  his  death,  and  he  appears 
yet  more  despicable,  and  unfit  tc>  be  trusted.  Men 
are  mortal,  and  dying,  v.  20,  21.  [1.]  In  death, 
they  are  destroyed,  and  perish  for  ever,  as  to  this 
world;  it  is  the  final  period  of  their  lives,  and  all 
their  employments  and  enjoyments  here;  their 
place  will  know  them  no  more.  [2.]  They  are 
dying  daily,  and  continually  wasting;  destJ-oyed 
from  moryiing  to  evening;  death  is  still  working  in 
us,  like  a  mole  digging  our  grave  at  each  remove, 
and  we  so  continually  lie  exposed,  that  we  are  kill- 
ed all  the  dav  long.  [3.]  Their  life  is  short,  and 
in  a  little  time  they  are  cut  off;  it  lasts  perhaps  but 
from  morning  to  evening.  It  is  but  a  day;  (so  some 
understand  it;)  their  birth  and  death  are  but  the 
sun-rise  and  sun-set  of  the  same  day.  [4.]  In 
death,  all  their  excellency  passes  away;  beauty, 
strength,  learning,  not  only  cannot  secure  them 
from  death,  but  die  with  them;  nor  shall  their 
pomp,  their  wealth,  or  power,  descend  after  them. 
[5.]  Their  wisdotn  cannot  sa\e  them  from  death; 
they  die  without  wisdom,  die  for  want  of  wisdom, 
by  their  own  foolish  management  of  themselves, 
digging  their  graves  with  their  own  teeth.  [6.  ]  It 
is  so  common  a  thing  that  nobody  heeds  it,  or  takes 
any  notice  of  it;  they  perish  ivithout  any  rcj^'arding 
it,  or  laying  it  to  heart.  The  deaths  of  others  are 
much  the  suliject  of  common  talk,  but  little  the 
subject  of  serious  thought. 

Some  think  the  eternal  damnation  of  sinners  is 
here  spoken  of,  as  well  as  their  temporal  death. 
Then  are  destroyed,  or  broken  to  /lieces,  by  death, 
from  morning  to  evening;  and  if  they  re/tent  Jiot, 
they  fierish  for  ever,  so  some  read  it,  v.  20.  They 
perish  for  ever,  because  they  regard  not  God 
and  their  duty,  they  consider  not  their  latter  end. 
Lam.  i.  9.  Tiicy  have  nn  excellency  but  that 
which  death  takes  away,  and  they  die,  they  die  the 
second  death,  for  want  of  wisdom  to  lay  hold  on 
eternal  life.  Shall  such  a  mean,  weak,  foolish, 
sinful,  dying,  creature  as  this,  pretend  to  be  niore 
just  than  God,  and  more  pure  than  his  Maker? 
No,  instead  of  quarrelling  with  his  afflictions,  let 
him  wonder  than  he  is  out  of  hell. 

CHAP.  V. 

Eliphaz,  in  the  foresroinfr  chapter,  for  the  making  good  of 
his  charjre  ajjainst  .Job,  had  vouched  a  word  from  Hea- 
ven, sent,  him  in  a  vision.  In  this  chapter,  he  appeals  to 
those  that  bear  record  on  earth,  to  the  saints,  the  faithful 
witnesses  of  God's  trulh.s,  in  all  ages,  v.  1.  They  will 
testify,  I.  That  the  sin  of  sinners  is  their  ruin,  v.  2.  .5. 
II.  That  yet  affliction  is  the  common  lot  of  mankind,  v. 


6,  7.  III.  That  when  we  are  in  affliction,  it  is  our  wis- 
dom and  dutv  to  apply  ourselves  to  God,  for  he  is  able 
and  ready  to  lielp  us,  v.  8 . .  16.  IV.  That  the  afflictions 
which  are  borne  well  will  end  well:  and  Job  particularly 
if  he  would  come  to  a  better  temper,  mj^'ht  assure  hiiii- 
self  that  God  had  great  mercy  in  store  for  him,  v. 
17..  27.  So  that  he  concludes  his  discourse  in  some- 
what a  better  humour  than  he  besan  it. 


"^ALL  now,  if  there  be  any  that 
will  answer  thee ;  and  to  which  of 
the  saints  wilt  thou  turn  ?  2.  For  wrath  kil- 
leth  the  foolish  man,  and  envy  slayetii  the 
silly  one.  3.  I  have  seen  the  fbohsh  taking 
root:  but  suddenly  I  cursed  his  habitation. 
4.  His  children  are  far  from  safety,  and  they 
are  crushed  in  the  gate,  neither  is  there  any 
to  deliver  thctn.  5.  \N'hose  harvest  the 
hungry  eateth  up,  and  laketh  it  even  out 
of  the  thorns,  and  the  robber  swalloweth  up 
their  substance. 

A  very  warm  dispute  being  begun  between  Job 
and  his  friends,  Eliphaz  here  makes  a  fair  motion  to 
put  the  matter  to  a  reference;  in  all  debates,  per- 
liaps,  the  sooner  that  is  done  the  better,  if  the  con- 
tenders cannot  end  it  between  themselves.    So  well 
assured  is  Eliphaz  of  the  goodness  of  his  own  cause, 
that  he  moves  Job  himself  to  choose  the  arbitrators; 
{v.  1.)    Call  now,  if  there    be  any   that  will  an- 
swer thee;  that  is,  1.   "  If  there  be  any  that  suffer 
as  thou  sufferest:  canst  thou  produce  an  instance  of 
any  one,  that  was  really  a  saint,  that  was  reduced 
to  such  extremity  as  thou  art  now  reduced  to?  God 
never  dealt  with  any  that  love  his  name  so  as  he 
deals  with  thee,  and  therefore  surely  thou  art  none 
of  them."     2.   "If  there  be  any  that  say  as  thou 
sayest:  did  ever  any  good  man  curse  his  day  as  thou 
dost?  Or,  will  any  of  the  saints  justify  thee  in  these 
heats  or  passions,  or  say  that  these  are  the  spots  of 
God's  children?  Thou  wilt  find  none  of  the  saints 
that  will  be  either  thine  advt  catcs,  or  mine  antago- 
nists.   7'o  which  of  the  saints  wilt  thou  turn'/  Turn  to 
which  thou  wilt,  and  thou  wilt  find  they  are  all  of 
my  mind;  I  have  the  communis  sensjisjidelium — 
t/te  unariimous  vote  of  all  the  saints  on  my  side; 
they  will  all  subscribe  to  what  I  am  g^ing  to  say." 
Observe,   (1.)  Good  people  are  called  saints,  even 
in  the  Old  Testament;  and  therefore  I  know  net 
why  we  should,  in  common  speaking,  (miless  be- 
catise   we   must   loqui  cum  vulgo — speak  as  our 
neighbours,)  appropriate  the  title  to  those  of  the 
New  Testament,  and  net  say  St.   Abraham,   St. 
Moses,  and  St.  Isaiah,  as  well  as  St.  Matthew,  and 
St.  Mark;  and  St.  David  the  psalmist,  as  well  as  St. 
David  the  British  Bishop.  Aaron  is  exj)!  cssly  called 
the  saint  of  the  Lord.     (2.)  All  that  are  themselves 
saints,   will  turn  to  those  that  are  so;  will  choose 
them  for  their  friends,   and  converse   with   them; 
will  choo.se  them  for  their  judges,  and  ernsult  with 
them.  See  Ps.  cxix.  79.    The  saints  sh;dly'z/rfj;-e  Mr 
world,  1  Cor.  vi.  1,  2.      Walk  in  the  way  of  good 
men,  (Prov.  ii.  20.)  the  old  way,  the  foofsfe/is  of  the 
flock.     Every  one  chooses  some  sort  of  people  v\ 
other  to  whom   he  studies  to  recommend  himseU', 
and  whose  sentiments  are  to  him  the  test  of  honoui- 
and  dishonour:  now  all  true  saints  endeavour  to  i-e 
commend  themselves  to  those  that  are  such,  and  to 
stand  right  in  their  opinion.     (3.)  There  are  some 
truths  so  plain,  and  so  universally  known  and  !je- 
lieved,  that  one  may  venture  to  a])])eal  to  any  c  f 
the   saints  concerning  them.     However  there  .are 
some  things,   about  which  they  unha])pily  differ, 
there  are  many  more,  and  more  considerable,  in 


JOB,  V. 


33 


which  the)-  are  agreed;  as  the  evil  of  sin,  the  vanity 
of  the  world,  the  worth  of  the  soul,  the  necessity  of 
a  holy  life,  and  the  like.  Though  they  do  not  all 
live  up,  as  they  should,  to  their  belief  of  these  truths, 
yet  they  are  all  ready  to  bear  their  testimony  to 
them. 

Now  there  are  two  things  which  Eliphaz  here 
maintains,  and  in  which  he  doubts  not  but  all  the 
saints  concur  with  him. 

I.  That  the  sin  of  sinners  directly  tends  to  their 
own  ruin;  {v.  2.)  Wrath  kills  the  foolish  man,  his 
own  wrath,  and  therefore  he  is  foolish  for  indulging 
it;  it  is  a  fire  in  his  bones,  in  his  blood,  enough  to 
put  him  into  a  fever;  envy  is  the  rottenness  of  the 
bones,  and  so  slays  the  silly  one  that  frets  himself 
with  it.  "  So  it  is  with  thee;"  says  Eliphaz;  "  while 
thou  quarrellest  with  God,  thou  doest  thyself  the 
greatest  mischief;  thine  anger  at  thine  own  trou- 
bles, and  thine  envy  at  our  prospeiity,  do  but  add 
to  thy  pain  and  miseiy:  turn  to  the  saints,  and  thou 
wilt  find  they  understand  themselves  better."  Job 
had  told  his  wife  she  spake  as  the  foolish  women, 
now  Eliphaz  tells  him  he  acted  as  the  foolish  men, 
the  silly  ones.  Or,  it  may  be  meant  thus:  "  If  men 
are  ruined  and  undone,  it  is  always  their  own  folly 
that  ruins  and  undoes  them.  They  kill  themselves 
by  some  lust  or  other;  therefore,  no  doubt.  Job, 
thou  hast  done  some  foolish  thing,  by  which  thou 
hast  brought  thyself  into  this  calamitous  condition. " 
Many  understand  it  of  God's  wrath  and  jealousy. 
Job  needed  not  be  uneasy  at  the  prosperity  of  the 
wicked,  for  the  world's  smiles  can  never  shelter 
them  from  God's  frowns;  they  are  foolish  and  silly, 
if  they  think  they  will.  God's  anger  will  be  the 
death,  the  eternal  death,  of  those  on  whom  it  fast- 
ens. What  is  hell,  but  God's  anger  without  mix- 
ture or  period.* 

II.  That  their  prosperity  is  short,  and  their  de- 
struction certain,  -v.  3"5.  He  seems  here  to  paral- 
lel Job's  case  with  that  which  is  commonly  the  case 
of  wicked  people. 

1.  Job  had  prospered  for  a  time,  seemed  confirm- 
ed, and  was  secure  in  his  prosperity;  and  it  is  com- 
mon for  foolish  wicked  men  to  do  so.  I  have  seen 
them  taking  root,  planted,  and,  in  their  own  and 
other's  apprehension,  fixed,  and  likely  to  continue. 
See  Jer.  xii.  2.  Ps.  xxxvii.  35,  36.  We  set  world- 
ly men  taking  root  in  the  earth;  on  earthly  things 
they  fix  the  standing  of  their  hopes,  and  from  them 
they  draw  the  sap  of  their  comforts.  The  outward 
estate  may  be  flourishing,  but  the  soul  cannot  pros- 
per that  takes  root  in  the  earth. 

2.  Job's  prosperity  was  now  at  an  end,  and  so 
has  the  prosperity  of  other  wicked  people  quickly 
been. 

(1.)  Eliphaz  foresaw  their  ruin  with  an  eye  of 
faith.  They  who  looked  only  at  present  things, 
blessed  their  habitation,  and  thought  them  happy, 
blessed  it  long,  and  wished  themselves  in  their 
condition.  But  Eliphaz  cursed  it,  suddenly  cursed 
it,  as  soon  as  he  saw  them  begin  to  take  root,  that 
is,  he  plainly  foresaw  and  foretold  their  ruin;  not 
that  he  prayed  for  it,  (/  have  not  desired  the  nvoe- 
fulday,)  but  he  prognosticated  it.  He  went  into 
the  sanctuary,  and  there  understood  their  end,  and 
heard  their  doom  read,  (Ps.  Ixxiii.  17,  18.)  That 
the  prosperity  of  fools  will  destroy  them,  Prov.  i. 
32.  They  who  believe  the  word  of  God,  can  see 
a  curse  in  the  house  of  the  wicked,  (Prov.  iii.  33. ) 
though  it  be  ever  so  finely  and  firinly  built,  and 
ever  so  full  of  all  good  things;  and  can  foresee  that 
it  wiU,  in  time,  infallibly  consume  it,  with  the 
timber  thereof,  and  the  stones  thereof,  Zech.  v.  4. 

(2.)  He  saw,  at  length,  what  he  had  foreseen: 
he  was  not  disappointed  in  his  expectation  concern- 
ing him,  the  event  answered  it;  his  family  was  un- 
tione,  and  his  estate  ruined.     In  these  particulars. 

Vol.  hi.— E 


he  plainly  and  very  invidiously  reflects  on  Job's  ca- 
lamities. [1.]  His  children  were  crushed,  v.  4. 
They  thought  tliemseh  es  safe  in  their  eldest  bro- 
ther s  house,  but  were  far  from  safety,  for  they 
were  crushed  in  the  gate;  perhaps  the  door  cr 
gate  of  the  house  was  highest  built,  and  fell  hea- 
viest upon  them,  and  there  was  none  to  delivei- 
them  from  perishing  in  the  ruins.  This  is  com- 
monly understood  of  the  destruction  of  the  families 
of  wicked  men,  by  the  execution  of  justice  upon 
them  to  oblige  them  to  restore  what  they  have  i.l- 
gotten.  They  leave  it  to  their  children;  but  the 
descent  shall  not  bar  the  entry  of  the  rightful  i.wn- 
ers,  who  will  ci-ush  their  children,  and  cast  them 
by  due  course  of  law,  (and  there  shall  be  none  tc 
help  them,)  or  perhaps  by  oppression,  Ps.  cix.  9, 
&c.  [2.]  His  estate  was  plundered,  v.  5.  Job's 
was  so;  the  hungry  robbers,  the  Sabeans  and  Chal- 
deans, ran  aw..y  with  it,  and  swallowed  it;  and  this, 
says  he,  I  have  often  observed  in  others.  What 
has  been  got  by  spoil  and  rapine,  has  been  lost  the 
same  way.  The  careful  owner  hedged  it  about  with 
thorns,  and  then  thought  it  safe;  but  the  fence 
proved  insignificant  against  the  greediness  of  the 
spoilers,  (if  hunger  will  break  through  stone-walls, 
niuch  more  through  thorn-hedges,)  and  against  the 
divine  curse,  which  will  go  through  the  thorns  and 
biiers,  and  burn  them  together,  Isa.  xxvii.  4. 

6.  Although  affliction  cometh  not  forth 
of  the  dust,  neither  doth  trouble  spring  out 
of  the  ground,  7.  Yet  man  is  born  unto 
trouble,  as  the  sparks  fly  upward.  8.  ] 
would  seek  unto  God,  and  unto  God 
would  I  commit  my  cause ;  9.  Which 
doeth  great  things  and  unsearchable;  mar- 
vellous things  without  number :  10.  AY  ho 
giveth  rain  upon  the  earth,  and  sendeth 
waters  upon  the  fields:  11.  To  set  up  on 
high  those  that  be  low;  that  those  which 
mourn  may  be  exalted  to  safety.  1 2.  He 
disappointeth  the  devices  of  the  crafty,  so 
that  their  hands  cannot  perform  their  enter- 
prise. 13.  He  taketh  the  wise  in  their  own 
craftiness ;  and  the  counsel  of  the  froward  is 
carried  headlong.  14.  They  meet  with 
darkness  in  the  day-time,  and  grope  in  the 
noon-day  as  in  the  night.  15.  But  he  saveth 
the  poor  from  the  sword,  from  their  mouth, 
and  from  the  hand  of  the  mighty.  1 6.  So 
the  poor  hath  hope,  and  iniquity  stoppeth 
her  mouth. 

Eliphaz,  having  touched  Job  in  a  very  tender 
part,  in  mentioning  both  the  loss  of  his  estate  and 
the  death  of  his  children,  as  the  just  punishment  of 
his  sin,  that  he  might  not  drive  him  to  despair, 
here  begins  to  encourage  him,  and  puts  him  in  a 
way  to  make  himself  easy.  Now  he  very  much 
changes  his  voice,  (Gal.  iv.  20.)  and  accosts  Job 
gently,  as  if  he  would  atone  for  the  hard  words  he 
had  given  him. 

I.  He  reminds  him,  that  no  affliction  comes  by 
chance,  nor  is  to  be  attributed  to  second  causes.  It 
doth  not  come  forth  of  the  dust,  nor  spring  out  oj 
the  ground,  as  the  grass  doth,  v.  6.  It  doth  not 
come  of  course,  at  certain  seasons  of  the  year,  as 
natural  productions  do,  by  a  chain  of  second  causes. 
The  proportion  between  prosperity  and  adversity 


34 


JOB,  V. 


is  iKt  so  exactly  observed  by  Providence,  as  thit 
between  day  and  night,  summer  and  winter,  but 
according  to  the  will  and  counsel  of  God,  when  and 
as  he  thinks  fit.  Some  read  it,  Sm  comes  not  forth 
of  the  dust,  nor  iniquity  out  of  the  ground.  It  men 
be  bad,  they  must  not  lay  the  blame  upon  the  soil, 
the  climate,  or  the  stars,  but  on  themselves.  If 
thou  scornest,  thou  alone  shalt  bear  it.  We  must 
not  attribute  our  afflictions  to  fortune,  for  they  are 
from  (iod,  nor  our  sins  to  fate,  for  they  are  from 
ourselves;  so  that,  whatever  trouble  we  are  in,  we 
nmst  own  that  God  sends  it  upon  us,  and  we  pro- 
cure it  to  oui-selves;  the  former  is  a  reason  why  we 
slir  uld  be  very  patient,  the  latter  wliy  we  should 
be  very  penitent,  when  we  are  afflicted. 

II.  He  reminds  him,  that  trouble  and  affliction 
are  what  we  have  all  reason  to  expect  in  this  world. 
Afan  is  born  to  trouble;  {v.  7. )  not  as  man,  (had  he 
kept  his  innocency,  he  had  been  born  to  pleasure,^ 
l)ut  as  sinful  man,  as  born  of  a  woman,  {ch.  xiv.  1.) 
who  was  in  the  transgression.  Man  is  born  in  sin, 
and  thei-efore  born  to  trouble.  Even  those  that  are 
born  to  honour  and  estate,  yet  are  born  to  trouble 
in  the  flesh.  In  our  fallen  state,  it  is  become  natural 
to  us  to  sin,  and  the  natural  consequence  of  that,  is 
affliction,  Rom.  v.  12.  There  is  nothing  in  this 
world  we  are  born  to,  and  can  truly  call  our  own, 
but  sin  and  trouble;  both  are  as  the  sparks  that  fly 
upward.  Actual  transgressions  are  the  sparks  that 
fly  out  of  the  furnace  of  original  corruption;  and, 
being  called  transgressors  from  the  womb,  no  won- 
der that  we  deaCvery  treacherously,  Isa.  xl\iii.  8. 
Such  too  is  the  frailty  of  our  bodies,  and  the  \  anity 
of  all  our  enjoyments,  that  our  troubles  also  thence 
arise  as  naturally  as  the  sparks  fly  upward;  so 
many  are  they,  so  thick  and  so  fast  does  one  follow 
another.  Why  then  should  we  be  surprised  at  our 
afflictions  as  strange,  or  quarrel  with  them  as  hard, 
when  thev  are  but  what  we  are  born  to?  Man  is 
born  to  labour,  so  it  is  in  the  margin,  is  sentenced 
to  eat  his  bread  in  the  sweat  of  his  face,  which 
should  inure  him  to  hardness,  and  make  him  bear 
his  afflictions  the  better. 

III.  He  directs  him  how  to  behave  himself  under 
his  affliction;  {v.  8.)  I  would  seek  unto  God;  surely 
I  would:  so  it  is  in  the  original.  Here  is,  1.  A  ta- 
cit reproof  to  Job  for  not  seeking  to  God,  but  quar- 
relling with  Him;  "Job,  if  I  had  been  in  thy  case,  I 
would  not  have  been  so  peevish  and  passionate  as 
thou  art,  I  would  have  acquiesced  in  the  will  of 
God."  It  is  easy  to  say  what  we  would  do,  if  we 
were  in  such  a  one's  case;  but,  when  it  comes  to  the 
trial,  perhaps  it  will  be  found  not  so  easy  to  do  as 
we  say.  2.  Very  good  and  seasonable  advice  to 
him,  which  Eliphaz  transfers  to  himself  in  a  figure; 
"For  mv  part,  the  best  way  I  should  think  I  could 
t  ike,  if  I  were  in  thy  condition,  would  be  to  apply 
myself  to  God."  Note,  We  should  give  our  friends 
no  otlier  counsel  than  what  we  would  take  our- 
selves if  we  were  in  their  case,  that  we  may  be  easy 
under  our  afflictions,  may  get  good  l)y  them,  and 
may  see  a  good  issue  of  them.  (1.)  ^^'^e  must  by 
prayer  fetch  in  mercy  and  grace  from  God;  seek 
to  liim  as  a  Father  and  Friend,  though  he  contend 
with  us,  as  one  who  is  alone  able  to  support  and  suc- 
cour us.  His  favour  we  must  seek,  when  we  have  lost 
all  we  have  in  tlie  world;  to  him  wc  must  address 
ourselves,  as  the  Fountain  and  Father  of  all  good, 
all  consolation.  Js  any  afflicted?  Let  him  firay.  It 
is  heart's-ease,  a  salve  for  c\ery  sore.  (2.)  We 
must  by  patience  refer  ourselves  and  our  cause  to 
him.  "  7'o  God  would  I  commit  my  cause:  having 
spread  it  before  him,  I  would  leave  it  %vith_him; 
having  laid  it  at  his  feet,  I  would  lodge  it  in  his 
hand;  Here  I  am,  let  the  Lord  do  with  me  as  scemeth 
him  good."  If  our  cause  i)e  indeed  a  good  cause, 
we  need  not  fear  committing  it  to  God,  for  he  is 


both  just  and  kind.     They  that  would  seek  so  as  to 
speed,  must  refer  themselves  to  God. 

IV.  He  encourages  him  thus  to  seek  to  God,  and 
commit  his  cause  to  him.  It  will  not  be  in  vain  to 
do  so,  for  he  is  one  in  whom  we  shall  find  eff"ectual 
help.  He  recommends  to  his  consideration  Gad's, 
almighty  power  and  sovereign  dominion. 

1.  In  general,  he  doeth  great  tilings;  {v.  9.)  great 
indeed,  for  he  can  do  any  thing;  he  doth  do  every 
thing;  and  all  according  to  the  counsel  of  his  own 
will:  great  indeed,  for  the  operations  of  his  power 
are,  (1.)  Unsearchable,  and  such  as  can  never  be 
fathomed,  can  never  be  found  out /row  the  begin- 
ning to  the  end,  Eccl.  iii.  11.  The  works  of  nitui-e 
are  mysteries;  the  most  curious  searches  come  fa- 
short  of  full  discoveries,  and  the  wisest  philosophers 
have  owned  themselves  at  a  loss.  The  designs  of 
Providence  are  much  more  deep  and  unaccountable, 
Rom.  xi.  33.  (2.)  Numerous,  and  such  as  never 
can  be  reckoned  up.  He  doeth  great  things  without 
number;  his  power  is  never  exhausted,  nor  will  all 
his  purposes  ever  be  fulfilled  till  the  end  of  time. 
(3.)  They  are  marvellous,  and  such  as  never  can  be 
sufficiently  admired;  eternity  itself  will  be  short 
enough  to  be  spent  in  the  admiration  of  them.  Now, 
by  the  consideration  of  this,  Eliphaz  intends,  [1.] 
To  convince  Job  of  his  fault  and  folly  in  quarrelling 
with  God.  We  must  not  pretend  to  pass  a  judgment 
upon  his  works,  for  they  are  unsearchable  and  above 
our  inquiries;  nor  must  we  strive  with  our  Maker, 
for  he  will  certainly  be  too  hard  for  us,  and  is  able 
to  crush  us  in  a  moment.  [2.]  To  encourage  Job 
to  seek  unto  God,  and  to  refer  himself  to  him 
What  more  encouraging  than  to  see  that  he  is  one 
to  whom  power  belongs  ?  He  can  do  great  things 
and  marvellous  for  our  relief,  when  we  are  brought 
ever  so  low. 

2.  He  gives  some  instances  of  God's  dominion 
and  power. 

(1.)  God  doeth  great  things  in  the  kingdom  of  na- 
ture: he  gii'es  rain  upon  the  earth,  {t.i.  10.)  put 
here  for  all  the  gifts  of  common  providence,  all  the 
fruitful  seasons,  by  which  hefilleth  our  hearts  with 
food  and  gladness.  Acts  xi\'.  17.  Observe,  When 
he  would  show  what  great  things  God  doeth,  he 
speaks  of  his  giving  rain,  which,  because  it  is  a 
common  thing,  we  are  apt  to  look  upon  as  a  little 
thing;  but  if  we  duly  consider  both  how  it  is  pro- 
duced, and  what  is  produced  by  it,  we  shall  see  it 
to  be  a  great  work,  both  of  power  and  goodness. 

(2.)  He  doeth  great  things  in  the  affairs  of  the 
children  of  men:  not  only  enriches  the  poor,  and 
comforts  the  needy,  by  the  rain  he  sends,  {v.  10. ) 
but,  in  order  to  the  advancing  of  those  that  are  low, 
he  disa/ifioints  the  devices  of  the  crafty;  for  -i>.  11. 
is  to  be  joined  to  v.  12.  and  compared  with  Luke 
i.  51 .  .  53.  He  hath  scattered  the  firoud  in  the  ima- 
gination of  their  hearts,  and  so  hath  exalted  them 
of  low  degree,  and  filled  the  hungry  with  good 
things. 

See,  [1.]  How  he  frustrates  the  counsels  oi  the 
firoud  and  politic,  x>.  12' •14.  There  is  a  supreme 
power  that  mnnages  and  overrules  men  who  think 
themselves  free  and  absolute,  and  fulfils  its  own 
purposes  in  despite  of  their  projects.  Observe, 
First,  The  froward,  that  walk  contrary  to  God  and 
the  interest  of  his  kingdom,  are  often  very  crafty, 
for  thev  are  the  seed  of  the  old  serpent,  that  was 
noted  for  subtilty.  They  think  themselves  wise, 
but,  at  the  end,  will  be  fools.  Secondly,  The  fro- 
ward enemies  of  God's  kingdom  have  their  devices, 
their  enterprises,  and  their  counsels,  against  it,  and 
against  the  loval  faithful  subjects  of  it.  They  are 
restless  and  unwearied  in  their  designs,  close  in 
their  consultations,  high  in  their  hopes,  deep  in  thei- 
l^olitics,  and  fast  linked  in  their  confederacies,  Ps, 
ii.  1,  2.     Thirdly,  God  easily  can,  and  (as  far  as  is 


JOB,  V. 


35 


fir  his  glory)  certainly  will,  blast  and  defeat  all  the 
designs  of  his  and  his  people's  enemies.  How  were 
the  plots  of  Ahithophel,  Sanballat,  and  Haman, 
baffled!  The  confederates  of  Syria  and  Ephraim 
against  Judah,  of  Gebal,  and  Amnion,  and  Anialek, 
against  Clod's  Israel,  the  kings  of  the  earth,  and  the 
princes,  against  the  Lord  and  against  his  anointed, 
broken!  Tlie  hands  tliat  have  been  stretched  out 
against  God,  and  his  church,  have  not  performed 
their  ^terprise,  nor  have  the  weapons  fomied 
against  Zion  prospered.  Fourthly,  That  which 
enemies  liave  designed  for  the  ruin  of  the  churcli, 
has  often  turned  to  their  own  ruin;  {v.  13.)  He 
takes  the  nvise  in  their  own  craftiness,  and  snares 
them  in  the  work  of  their  own  hands,  Ps.  \ii.  15, 
16. — ix.  15,  16.  This  is  quoted  by  the  apostle,  (  1 
Cor.  iii.  19.)  to  show  how  the  learned  men  of  the 
heathen  were  liefooled  by  their  own  vain  philoso- 
phy. Fifthly,  When  God  infatuates  men,  they  are 
perplexed,  :md  :.t  a  loss,  even  in  those  things  that 
seem  most  plain  and  easy;  {xk  14.)  They  meet  with 
darkness  even  in  the  day-time;  nay,  as  it  is  in  the 
margin.  They  run  themselves  into  darkness  by  the 
violence  and  precipitation  of  their  own  counsels. 
See  ch.  xii.  20,  24,  25. 

[2.]  Hnw  he  favours  the  cause  of  the  poor  and 
humble,  and  espouses  that. 

First,  He  exnlts  the  humble,  T'.  11.  Those  whom 
proud  men  contrive  to  crush,  he  raises  from  under 
their  feet,  and  sets  them  in  safety,  Ps.  xii.  5.  The 
lowlv  in  heart,  and  those  that  mourn,  he  advances, 
comforts,  and  makes  to  dwell  on  high,  in  the  muni- 
tions of  rocks,  Isa.  xxxiii.  16.  Zion's  mourners  are 
the  sealed  ones,  marked  for  safety,  Ezek.  ix.  4. 

Secondly,  He  delivers  the  oppressed,  v.  15.  The 
designs  of  the  crafty  are  to  ruin  the  poor:  tongue, 
and  hand,  and  sword,  and  all,  are  at  work  in  order 
to  this;  but  God  takes  under  his  special  protection 
those  who,  being  poor,  and  unable  to  help  them- 
selves, being  his  poor,  and  devoted  to  his  prnise, 
have  committed  themselves  to  him.  He  saves  them 
from  the  mouth  that  speaks  hard  things  against 
them,  and  the  hand  that  does  hard  things  against 
them;  for  he  can,  when  he  pleases,  tie  the  tongue, 
and  wither  the  hand. 

The  effect  of  this  is,  (x'.  16.)  1.  That  weak  and 
timorous  saints  "re  comtorted:  so  the  fioor,  that  be- 
gan to  despair,  has  hofie.  The  experiences  rf  some 
are  encnarn elements  to  others  to  hope  the  best  in 
the  worst  of  times;  f ->r  it  is  the  glory  of  God  to  send 
help  to  the  helpless,  and  hnpe  to  the  hopeless.  2. 
That  daring  threatening  sinners  are  confounded;  ini- 
quitv  stops  hermouth,  being  surprised  at  the  strange- 
ness of  the  deliverance,  ashamed  of  its  enmity  against 
those  who  appear  to  be  the  favourites  of  Heaven, 
mortified  at  the  disappointment,  and  compelled  to 
acknowledge  the  justice  of  God's  proceedings,  hav- 
ing nothing  to  object  against  them.  Those  that  domi- 
neered over  God's  poor,  that  frightened  them,  me- 
naced them,  and  falsely  accused  them,  will  not  have 
a  word  to  sav  against  them  when  God  appears  for 
them.  See  IPs.  Ixxvi.  8,  9.  Isa.  xxvi.  11.  Mic. 
vii.  16. 

1 7.  Behold,  happy  is  the  man  whom  God 
correcteth ;  therefore  despise  not  thou  the 
chastening  of  the  Almighty:  ,  18.  For  he 
maketh  sore,  and  bindeth  up  ;  he  woundeth, 
and  his  hands  make  whole.  19.  He  shall 
deliver  thee  in  six  troubles;  yea,  in  seven 
there  shall  no  evil  touch  thee.  20,  In  famine 
he  shall  redeem  thee  from  death ;  and  in 
war  from  the  power  of  the  sword.  21.  Thou 
shalt  be  hid  from  the  scourge  of  the  tongue ; 


neither  shalt  thou  be  afraid  of  destruction 
when  it  cometh.  22.  At  destruction  and 
famine  thou  shalt  laugh  :  neither  shalt  thou 
be  afraid  of  the  beasts  of  the  earth.  23.  Foi 
thou  shalt  be  in  league  with  the  stones  of 
the  field ;  and  the  beasts  of  the  field  sh;dl 
be  at  peace  with  thee.  24.  And  thou  shnlt 
know  that  thy  tabernacle  shall  be  in  peace  ; 
and  thou  shalt  visit  thy  habitation,  and  shall 
not  sin.  25.  Thou  shalt  know  also  that  thy 
seed  shall  be  great,  and  thine  offspring  as 
the  grass  of  the  earth.  26.  Thou  shalt  come 
to  thy  grave  in  a  full  age,  like  as  a  shock  of 
corn  cometh  in  in  his  season.  27.  Lo  this, 
we  have  searched  it,  so  \iis;  hear  it,  ancl 
know  thou  it  for  thy  good. 

Eliphaz,  in  this  concluding  paragraph  of  his  dis- 
course, gives  Job  (what  he  himself  knew  not  how  to 
take)  a  comfortable  prospect  of  the  issue  of  his  af- 
flictions, if  he  did  but  recover  his  temper,  and  ac- 
commodate himself  to  them. 

Observe, 

I.  The  seasonable  word  of  caution  and  exhorta- 
tion that  he  gives  him;  {v.  17.)  "  Desfiise  not  thou 
the  chastening  of  the  jilmighty.  Call  it  a  chastening, 
which  comes  from  the  father's  love,  and  is  designed 
for  the  child's  good.  Call  it  the  chastening  of  the 
Almighty,  with  whom  it  is  madness  to  contend,  to 
whom  it  is  wisdom  and  duty  to  submit,  and  who 
will  be  a  God  all-sufiicient"  (for  so  the  word  signi- 
fies) "  to  all  those  that  trust  in  him.  Do  not  despise 
it;"  it  is  a  copious  word  in  the  original.  1.  "Be  not 
averse  to  it.  Let  grace  conquer  the  antipathy 
which  nature  has  to  suffering,  and  reconcile  thyself 
to  the  will  of  God  in  it."  We  need  the  rod.  and  we 
deserve  it;  and  therefore  we  ought  not  to  think  it 
either  strange  or  hard  if  we  feel  the  smart  of  it. 
Let  not  the  heart  rise  against  a  bitter  pill  or  potion, 
when  it  is  prescribed  us  for  our  good.  2.  "  Do  not 
th'nk  ill  of  it,  do  not  put  it  from  thee,  (as  that 
which  is  either  hurtful,  or,  at  least,  not  useful, 
which  there  is  no  occasion  for,  nor  advantage  by,) 
only  because,  for  the  present,  it  is  not  joyous,  but 
grievous."  \\'e  must  never  scorn  to  stoop  to  Gcd, 
nor  think  it  a  thing  below  us  to  come  under  his  dis- 
cipline, but  reckon,  on  the  contrary,  that  God  really 
magnifies  man,  when  he  thus  visits  and  tries  him, 
ch.  vii.  17,  18.  3.  "  Do  not  overlook  and  disregard 
it,  as  if  it  were  only  a  chance,  and  the  production  of 
second  causes,  but  take  great  notice  of  it  as  tlie 
voice  of  God,  and  a  messenger  from  Heaven." 
More  is  implied  than  is  expressed:  "  Feverence 
the  chastening  of  the  Lord;  have  an  humble,  awful, 
regard  to  his  correcting  hand,  and  tremble  when 
the  lion  roars,  Amos  iii.  8.  Submit  to  the  chasten- 
ing, and  study  to  answer  the  call,  to  answer  the  end 
of  it,  and  then  thou  reverencest  it. "  When  God, 
by  an  affliction,  draws  upon  us  for  some  of  the  ef- 
fects he  has  intrusted  us  with,  we  must  honour  his 
bill  by  accepting  it,  and  subscribing  it,  resigning  him 
his  own  when  he  calls  for  it. 

II.  The  comfortable  words  of  encouragement 
which  he  gives  him,  thus  to  accommodate  himself 
to  his  condition,  and  (as  he  himself  had  expressed 
it)  to  receive  evil  from  the  hand  of  God,  and  nrt 
despise  it  as  a  gift  not  worth  the  accepting.  If  his 
affliction  was  thus  borne, 

1.  The  nature  and  property  of  it  would  be  alter- 
ed: though  it  looked  like  a  man's  misery,  it  would 
really  be  his  bliss.  Hafipy  is  the  man  whom  God 
correcteth,  if  he  make  but  a  due  improvement  of 
the  correction.     A  good  man  is  happy,  though  he 


JOB,  V. 


be  afflicted;  for,  whatever  he  has  lost,  he  has  not 
lost  his  enjoyment  of  God,  nor  his  title  to  heaven j 
nay,  he  is  happy,  because  he  is  afflicted;  correction 
is  an  evidence  of  his  sonship,  and  a  means  of  his 
sanctification;  it  mortifies  his  corruptions,  weans  his 
heart  from  the  world,  draws  him  nearer  to  God, 
brings  him  to  his  Bible,  brings  him  to  his  knees, 
works  him  for,  and  so  is  working  tor  him,  a  far 
more  exceeding  and  eternal  weight  of  glory;  Hafi- 
//(/  therefore  is  [he  man  luhom  God  correcteth.  Jam. 
i.'l2. 

2.  The  issue  and  consequence  of  it  would  be  very 
good,  V.  18.  (1.)  Though  he  makes  sore  the  body 
with  sore  boils,  the  mind  with  sad  thoughts,  yet  he 
binds  up  at  the  same  time;  as  the  skilful  tender 
surgeon  binds  up  the  wounds  he  had  occasion  to 
make  with  his  incision-knife.  When  God  makes 
sores  by  the  rebukes  of  his  providence,  he  binds  up 
by  the  consolations  of  his  Spirit,  which  oftentimes 
abound,  as  most  afflictions  do  abound,  and  balance 
them,  to  the  unspeakable  satisfaction  of  the  patient 
sufferers.  (2.)  Though  he  wounds,  yet  his  hands 
make  whole  in  due  time:  as  he  supports  his  people, 
and  makes  them  easy  under  their  afflictions,  so  in 
due  time  he  delivers'  them,  and  makes  a  way  for 
them  to  escape.  All  is  well  again;  and  he  comforts 
tliem  according  to  the  time  wherein  he  afflicted 
them.  God's  usual  method  is  first  to  wound,  and 
then  to  heal,  first  to  convince,  and  then  to  comfort, 
first  to  humble,  and  then  to  exalt;  and  (as  Mr. 
Caryl  observes)  he  never  makes  a  wound  too  great, 
too  deep,  for  his  own  cure.  Una  eadevique  manus 
vulnus  ofiemque  tulit — The  hand  that  injiicts  the 
wound,  afifxlies  the  cure.  God  tears  the  wicked, 
and  goes  away,  let  them  heal  that  will,  if  they  can; 
(Hos.  v.  14.)  but  the  humble  and  penitent  may  say. 
He  has  torn,  and  he  will  heal  us,  Hos.  vi.  1. 

.This  is  general;  but  in  the  following  verses  he 
applies  himself  directly  to  Job,  and  gives  him  many 
precious  promises  of  great  and  kind  things  which 
God  would  do  for  him,  if  he  did  but  humble  him- 
self under' his  hand.  I'hough  then  they  had  no  Bi- 
bles that  we  know  of,  yet  Eliphaz  had  sufficient 
warrant  to  give  Job  these  assurances,  from  the 
general  discoveries  God  had  made  of  his  good  will 
to  his  people.  And  though,  in  every  thing  which 
Job's  friends  said,  they  were  not  directed  by  the 
Spirit  of  God,  (for  they  spake  both  of  God  and  Job 
some  things  that  were  not  right,)  yet  the  general 
doctrines  they  laid  down  spake  tlie  pious  sense  of 
the  patriarchal  age;  and  as  St  Paul  quoted,  v.  13. 
for  canonical  scripture,  and  as  the  command,  v.  17. 
is,  no  doubt,  bindmg  on  us,  so  these  promises  here 
may  be,  and  must  be,  received  and  applied  as  di- 
vine promises,  and  we  may,  through  patience  and 
comfort  of  this  part  of  scrifiture,  have  hofie. 

Let  us  therefore  give  diligence  to  make  sure  our 
interest  in  these  promises,  and  then  view  the  par- 
ticulars of  them,  and  take  the  comfort  of  them. 

[1.]  It  is  here  promised,  that  as  afflictions  and 
troubles  do  recur,  supfiorts  and  deliverances  shall 
be  graciously  repeated,  be  it  never  so  often.  In  six 
troubles,  he  shall  be  ready  to  delin'er  thee;  yea,  and 
in  sexien.  This  intimates,  thiit,  as  long  as  we  are 
here  in  this  world,  we  must  expect  a  succession  of 
troubles,  that  the  clouds  will  return  after  the  rain; 
after  six  troubles  mav  come  a  seventh.  After 
many,  look  for  more;  f)ut  out  of  them  all  will  God 
deliver  those  that  are  his.  2  Tim.  iii.  11.  Ps. 
xxxiv.  19.  Former  deliverances  are  earnests  of, 
not,  as  among  men,  excuses  from,  further  deliver- 
ances, Prov.  xix.  19. 

[2.]  That,  whatever  troubles  good  men  may  be 
in,  there  shall  no  evil  touch  them,  they  shall  do 
?hem  no  real  harm;  the  malignity  of  them,  the 
sting,  shall  be  taken  out;  they  may  hiss,  they  can- 
not "hurt,  Ps,  xci.  10.     The  evil  one  toucheth  not 


God's  children,  1  John  v.  18.    Being  kept  from  sin, 
they  are  kept  from  the  evil  of  every  trouble. 

[3.  ]  That,  when  desolating  judgments  are  abroad, 
they  shall  be  taken  under  special  protection,  v,  20. 
Do  many  perish  about  them,  for  want  of  the  neces- 
sarj"  supports  of  hfe  ?  They  shall  be  supplied.  "  In 
famine  he  shall  redeem  thee  from  deaih:  whate\  er 
becomes  of  others,  thou  shalt  be  kept  alive,  Ps. 
xxxiii.  19.  Verily  thou  shalt  be  fed,  nay,  e\  en  m 
the  days  of  famine  thou  shalt  be  satisfi^,  Ps. 
xxxvii.  3,  19.  In  tin»e  of  war,  when  thousands  fall 
on  thy  right  and  left  hand,  he  shall  redeem  thee 
from  the  power  of  the  sword.  If  God  pleases,  it 
shall  not  touch  thee;  or,  if  it  wound  thee,  if  it  kill 
thee,  it  shall  not  hurt  thee;  it  can  byit  kill  the  body, 
nor  has  it  power  to  do  that,  unless  it  be  given  from 
above. " 

[4.]  That  whatever  is  maliciously  said  against 
the?n,  it  shall  not  affect  them,  to  do  them  any  hurt, 
V.  21.  "Thou  shalt  not  only  be  protected  fron.  the 
killing  sword  of  war,  but  shalt  be  hid  from  the 
scourge  of  the  tongue,  which,  like  a  scourge,  is 
vexing  and  painful,  though  not  mortal."  The  l)est 
men,  and  the  most  inoffensive,  cannot,  even  with 
their  innocency,  secure  themselves  from  calumny, 
reproach,  and  false  accusation.  From  these  a  man 
cannot  hide  himself,  but  God  can  hide  him,  so  that 
the  most  malicious  slanders  shall  be  so  little  heeded 
by  him,  as  not  to  disturb  his  peace;  and  so  little 
heeded  by  others,  as  not  to  blemish  his  reputation: 
and  the  remainder  of  his  wrath  God  can  and  does 
restrain,  for  it  is  owing  to  the  hold  he  has  of  the 
consciences  of  bad  men,  that  the  scourge  of  the 
tongue  is  not  the  ruin  of  all  the  comforts  of  good 
men  in  this  world. 

[5.]  That  they  shall  have  a  holy  security  and 
serenity  of  mind,  arising  from  their  hope  and  confi 
dence  in  God,  even  in  the  worst  of  times.  When 
dangers  are  most  threatening,  they  shall  be  easy, 
believing  themselves  safe;  and  shall  not  be  afraid 
of  destiniction,  no,  not  when  they  see  it  coming, 
{y.  21.)  nor  the  beasts  of  the  field,  when  they  set 
upon  them,  nor  of  men  as  cruel  as  beasts;  nay,  at 
destruction  and  famine  thou  shalt  laugh,  {v.  22.) 
not  so  as  to  despise  any  of  God's  chastenings,  or  make 
a  jest  of  his  judgments,  but  so  as  to  triumph  in  (iod, 
and  his  power  and  goodness,  and  therein  to  triumph 
over  the  world  and  all  its  grievances;  to  be  not  only 
easy,  but  cheerful  and  joyful,  in  tribulation.  Bless- 
ed Paul  laughed  at  destruction,  when  he  said,  O 
death,  where  is  thy  sting?  When,  in  the  name  of 
all  the  saints,  he  defied  all  the  calamities  of  this 
present  time  to  separate  from  the  love  of  God,  con- 
cluding. In  all  these  tHings  we  are  more  than  con- 
querors, Rom.  viii.  37,  &c.     See  Isa.  xxxvii.  22. 

[6.]  That,  being  at  peace  with  God,  there  shall 
be  a  covenant  of  friendship  between  them  and  the 
whole  creation',  v.  23.  '*  When  thou  walkest  thy 
grounds,  thou  shalt  not  need  to  fear  stumbling,  for 
thou  shalt  be  at  league  with  the  stones  of  the  field, 
not  to  dash  thy  foot  against  any  of  them;  nor  shalt 
thou  be  in  danger  from  the  beasts  of  the  field,  for 
they  all  shall  be  ^kI  peace  with  thee;^  compa-e  Hos. 
ii.  18,  /  will  make  a  covenant  for  them  with  the 
beasts  of  the  field.  This  implies,  that  while  man 
is  at  enmity  with  his  Maker,  the  inferior  creatures 
are  at  war  with  him;  but  Tranquillus  Deus  tran- 
quillat  omnia — A  recoriciled  God  reconciles  all 
things.  Our  covenant  with  God  is  a  covenant  with 
all  tVie  creatures,  that  they  shali  do  us  no  hurt,  but 
be  ready  to  serve  us,  and  do  us  good. 

[7.]  That  their  houses  and  families  shall  be  com- 
fortable to  them,  V.  24.  Peace  and  piety  in  the 
family  will  make  it  so.  "  Thou  shalt  know  and  be 
assured  that  thy  tabernacle  is,  and  shall  be,  in 
peace;  thou  may  est  be  confident  both  of  its  j^resent 
and  its  future  prosperity."     That  peace  is  thy  ta 


JOB,  VI. 


bernacle,  so  the  word  is.  Peace  is  the  house  in  which 
they  dwell,  who  dwell  in  God,  and  are  at  home  in 
him;  "  Thou  shalt  visit,"  that  is,  "  inquire  into,  the 
affairs  of  thy  habitation,  and  take  a  review  of  them, 
and  shalt  not  sin."  First,  God  will  provide  a  set- 
tlement for  his  people,  mean,  perhaps,  and  movea- 
ble, a  cottage,  a  tabernacle,  but  a  fixed  and  quiet 
habitation.  "  Thou  slmlt  not  sin,"  or  wander,  that 
is,  as  some  understand  it,  "  thou  shalt  not  be  a  fugi- 
tive and  a  vagabond,"  (Cain's  curse,)  "but  shalt 
dwell  m  the  land,  and  verily,  not  uncertainly  as 
vagrants,  shalt  thou  be  fed."  Secondly,  Their 
families  shall  be  taken  under  the  special  protection 
of  the  Divine  Providence,  and  shall  prosper  as  far 
as  is  for  their  good.  Thirdly,  They  shall  be  assured 
of  peace,  and  of  the  continuance  and  entail  of  it; 
"  1  hou  shalt  know,  to  thine  unspeakable  satisfac- 
tion, that  peace  is  sure  to  thee  and  tliine,  having 
the  word  of  God  for  it."  Providence  may  change, 
but  the  promise  cannot.  Fourthly,  They  shall  have 
wisdom  to  govern  their  families  aright,  to  order 
their  affairs  with  discretion,  and  to  look  well  to  the 
ways  of  their  household,  which  is  here  called  visit- 
ing their  habitation;  masters  of  families  must  not 
be  strangers  at  home,  but  have  a  watchful  eye  over 
what  they  have,  and  what  their  servants  do.  Fifth- 
ly, Thev  shall  have  grace  to  manage  the  concerns 
of  their  families  after  a  godly  sort,  and  not  to  sin  in 
the  management  of  them.  They  shall  call  their 
servants  to  account  without  passion,  pride,  covet- 
ousness,  worldliness,  or  the  like;  they  shall  look 
into  their  affairs  without  discontent  at  what  is,  or 
distrust  of  what  shall  be.  Family  piety  crowns 
family  peace  and  prosperity.  The  greatest  bless- 
ing, both  in  our  employments,  and  in  our  enjoy- 
ments, is,  to  be  kept  from  sin  in  them.  When  we 
are  abroad,  it  is  comfortable  to  hear  that  our  taber- 
nacle is  in  peace;  and  when  we  return  home  to  visit 
our  habitation,  with  satisfaction  in  our  success,  that 
we  have  not  failed  in  our  business,  and  with  a  good 
conscience,  that  we  have  not  offended  God. 

[8.]  That  their  posterity  should  be  numerous  and 
prosperous.  Job  had  lost  all  his  children;  •'  But," 
says  Eliphaz,  •*  if  thou  return  to  God,  he  will  again 
build  up  thy  family,  and  thy  seed  shall  be  many, 
and  as  great  as  ever,  and  thine  offspring  increasing 
and  flourishing  as  the  grass  of  the  earth,"  (v.  25.) 
'•and  thou  shalt  know  it."  God  has  blessings  in 
store  for  the  seed  of  the  faithful,  which  they  shall 
have,  if  they  do  not  stand  in  their  own  light,  and 
forfeit  them  by  their  folly.  It  is  a  comfort  to  pa- 
rents to  see  the  prosperity,  especially  the  spiritual 
prosperity,  of  their  children;  if  they  are  truly  good, 
they  are  truly  great,  how  small  a  figure  soever  they 
make  in  the  world. 

[9.]  That  their  death  shall  be  seasonable,  and 
they  shall  finish  their  course,  at  length,  with  Joy  and 
honour,  v.  26.  It  is  a  great  mercy,  First,  To  live 
to  a  full  age,  and  not  to  have  the  number  of  our 
months  cut  off  in  the  midsL  If  the  providence  of 
G  id  do  not  gi\'e  us  long  life,  if  the  grace  of  God 
give  us  to  be  satisfied  with  the  time  allotted  us,  we 
may  be  said  to  come  to  a  full  age.  That  man  lives 
long  enough  that  has  done  his  work,  and  is  fit  for 
another  world.  Secondly,  To  be  willing  to  die,  to 
come  cheerfully  to  the  grave,  and  not  to  be  forced 
thither,  as  he  whose  soul  was  required  of  him. 
Thirdly,  To  die  seasonably,  as  the  corn  is  cut  and 
housed  when  it  is  full  ripe;  not  till  then,  but  then 
not  suffered  to  stand  a  day  longer,  lest  it  shed. 
Our  times  are  in  God's  hand;  it  is  well  they  are  so, 
for  he  will  take  care  that  those  who  are  his  die  in 
the  best  time:  however  their  death  may  seem  to  us 
untimely,  it  will  be  found  not  unseasonable. 

In  the  last  verse,  he  recommends  those  promises 
to  Job,  1.  As  faithful  sayings,  which  he  might  be 
confident  of  the  truth  of:  "  Lo,  this  ive  have  search- 


ed, and  so  it  is.  We  have  indeed  received  thest- 
things  by  tradition  from  our  fathers,  but  we  h  ,ve 
not  taken  them  upon  trust,  we  have  carefully 
searched  them,  ha\e  compared  spiritual  tilings 
with  spiritual,  have  diligently  studied  them,  ami 
been  confirmed  in  our  belief  of  them,  from  our  own 
observation  and  experience;  and  we  are  all  of  a  mind 
that  so  it  is."  Truth  is  a  treasure  that  is  well  wortli 
digging  for,  diving  for;  and  then  we  shall  know  both 
how  to  value  it  ourselves,  and  how  to  communicate 
it  to  others,  when  we  have  taken  pains  in  searc  hing 
for  it.  2.  As  well  worthy  of  all  acceptation,  which 
he  might  improve  to  his  great  advantage!  "  Hear 
it,  and  know  thou  it  for  thy  good."  It  is  not  enough 
to  hear  and  know  the  truth,  but  we  must  imjirove 
it,  and  be  made  wiser  and  better  by  it,  recei\  e  the 
impiessions  of  it,  and  submit  to  the  commanding 
power  of  it.  Know  it  for  thyself,  so  the  word  is; 
with  application  to  thyself,  and  thy  own  case;  not 
only  This  is  true,  but  This  is  true  concerning  me. 
That  which  we  thus  hear  and  know  for  ourselves, 
we  hear  and  know  for  our  good,  as  we  are  nourished 
by  the  meat  which  we  digest.  That  is,  indeed,  a 
good  sermon,  which  does  us  good. 

CHAP.  VI. 

Eliphaz  concluded  his  discourse  with  an  air  of  assurance; 
very  confident  he  was  that  what  he  had  said  was  so  plain 
and  so  pertinent,  that  nothing  could  be  objected  in  answer 
to  it.  But  though  he  that  is  first  in  his  own  cause,  seems 
just,  yet  his  neighbour  comes  and  searches  him.  Job  is 
not  convinced  by  all  he  had  said,  but  still  justifies  him- 
self in  his  complaints,  and  condemns  him  for  the  weak- 
ness of  his  arguing.  I.  He  shows  that  he  had  just  cause 
to  complain  as  he  did  of  his  troubles,  and  so  it  would 
appear  to  any  impartial  judge,  v.  2.  .7.  II.  He  coiilinues 
his  passionate  wish,  that  he  might  speedily  be  cut  offbv 
the  stroke  of  death,  and  so  be  eased  of  all  his  miseries, 
V.  8.  .13.  HI.  He  reproves  his  friends  for  their  uncha- 
ritable censures  of  him,  and  their  unkind  treatment, 
V.  14  .  .  30.  It  must  be  owned  that  Job,  in  all  this,  spake 
much  that  was  reasonable,  but  with  a  mixture  of  passion 
and  human  infirmity.  And  in  this  contest,  as  indeed  in 
most  contests,  there  was  fault  on  both  sides. 

1.  TJ  UT  Job  answered  and  said,  2.  Oii 
JLi  that  nfiy  grief  were  thoroughly  w  eigh- 
ed,  and  my  calamity  laid  in  the  balances 
together!  3.  For  now  it  would  be  heavier 
than  the  sand  of  the  sea:  therefore  my 
words  are  swallowed  up.  4.  For  the  ar- 
rows of  the  Almighty  are  within  me,  the 
poison  whereof  drinketh  up  my  spirit :  the 
terrors  of  God  do  set  themselves  in  array 
against  me.  5.  Doth  the  wild  ass  bray 
when  he  hath  grass?  or  loweth  the  ox  over 
his  fodder  ?  6.  Can  that  which  is  unsavou- 
ry be  eaten  without  salt?  or  is  there  0771/ 
taste  in  the  white  of  an  egg  ?  7.  The  things 
that  my  soul  refused  to  touch  are  as  my 
sorrowful  meat. 

Eliphaz,  in  the  beginning  of  his  discourse,  had 
been  very  sharp  upon  Job,  and  yet  it  does  not  ap- 
pear that  Job  gave  him  any  interruption,  but  heard 
him  patiently,  till  he  had  said  all  he  had  to  say.- 
they  that  would  make  an  impartial  judgment  of  a 
discourse,  must  hear  it  out,  and  take  it  entire.  But 
when  he  had  concluded,  he  makes  his  reply,  in 
which  he  speaks  very  feelingly. 

I.  He  represents  his  calamity,  in  general,  as 
much  heavier  than  either  he  had  expressed  it,  or 
they  had  apprehended  it,  v.  2,  3.  He  could  not 
fully  describe  it,  they  would  not  fully  apprehend  it, 
or,  at  least,  not  own  that  they  did;  and  therefore  he 


38 


JOB,  VI. 


would  gladly  appeal  to  a  third  person,  who  had  just 
weights  and  just  balances  with  which  to  weigh  his 
grief  and  calamity,  and  would  do  it  with  an  impar- 
tial hand;  he  wished  that  they  would  set  his  grief 
in  one  scale,  and  all  the  expressions  of  it;  his  ca- 
lamity in  the  other,  and  all  the  particulars  of  it; 
and  (though  he  would  not  altogether  justify  him- 
self in  his  grief,  yet)  they  would  find  (as  he  says, 
ch.  xxiii.  2.)  that  his  stroke  was  heavier  than  his 
groaning;  for,  whatever  his  grief  was,  his  calamity 
was  heavier  than  the  sand  of  the  sea;  it  was  compli- 
cated, it  was  aggravated,  every  grievance  weighty, 
and  all  together  numerous  as  the  sand:  Therefore 
(says  he)  my  words  are  swallowed  ufi;  that  is, 
''  Therefore  you  must  excuse  both  the  brokenness 
and  the  bitterness  of  my  expressions;  do  not  think 
it  strange  if  my  speech  be  not  so  fine  and  polite  as 
that  of  an  eloquent  orator,  or  so  grave  and  regular 
as  that  of  a  morose  philosopher:  no,  in  these  cir- 
cumstances I  can  pretend  neither  to  the  one  nor  to 
the  other;  my  words  are,  as  I  am,  quite  swallowed 
ap." 

Now,  1.  He  hereby  complains  of  it  as  his  un- 
happiness,  that  his  friends  undertook  to  administer 
spiritual  physic  to  him,  before  they  thoroughly  un- 
derstood his  case,  and  knew  the  worst  of  it.  It  is 
seldom  that  those  who  are  at  ease  themselves, 
rightly  weigh  the  afflictions  of  the  afflicted;  every 
one  feels  most  from  his  own  burthen,  few  feel  from 
otlier  people's.  2.  He  excuses  the  jjassionate  ex- 
pressions he  had  used  when  he  cursed  his  day. 
Though  he  could  not  himself  justify  all  he  had  said, 
yet  he  thought  his  friends  should  not  tlius  violently 
condemn  it,  for  really  the  case  was  extraordinary ; 
and  that  n>ight  be  connived  at  in  such  a  man  of 
sorrows  as  he  now  was,  which,  in  any  common 
grief,  would  by  no  means  be  allowed  of.  3.  He  be- 
speaks the  ch  iritable  and  compassionate  sympathy 
of  his  friends  with  him,  and  hopes,  by  representing 
the  greatness  of  his  calamity,  to  bring  them  to  a 
Ijetter  temper  toward  him.  To  those  that  are  pain- 
ed, it  is  some  ease  to  be  pitied. 

II.  He  complains  of  the  trouble  and  terror  of 
mind  he  was  in,  as  the  sorest  part  of  his  calamity, 
V.  4.  Herein  he  was  a  type  of  Christ,  who,  in  his 
suflFerings,  complained  most  of  the  sufferings  of  his 
soul;  A''ow  is  my  soul  troubled,  John  xii.  27.  My 
wul  is  exceeding  sorrowful,  Matth.  xxvi.  37,  38. 
My  God,  my  God,  why  hast  thou  forsaken  me  ? 
Matth.  xxvii.  46.  Poor  Job  sadly  complains  here, 
1.  Of  what  he  felt:  The  arrows  of  the  Almighty 
arc  within  me.  It  was  not  so  mucli  the  troubles 
themselves  he  was  under  that  put  him  into  tliis 
confusion,  his  poverty,  disgrace,. and  bodily  pain; 
that  which  cut  him  to  the  heart,  and  put  him  into 
this  agitation,  was,  to  think  that  the  Ciod  he  lov- 
ed, and  served,  had  brought  all  this  upon  him, 
and  laid  liim  undei'  these  marks  of  his  displea- 
sure. Note,  Trouble  of  mind  is  the  sorest  trou- 
ble: a  wounded  s/iirit  who  can  bear?  Whatever 
burthen  of  affliction,  in  body  or  estate,  God  is 
pleased  to  lay  upon  us,  we  may  well  afford  to  sub- 
mit to  it  as  long  as  he  continues  to  us  the  use  of  our 
reason,  and  the  peace  of  our  consciences;  but  if,  in 
either  of  these,  we  be  disturbed,  our  case  is  sad  in- 
deed, and  very  pitiable.  The  way  to  prevent  God's 
fiery  darts  of  trouble,  is,  with  the  shield  of  faith, 
to  quench  Satan's  fiery  darts  of  temptation.  Ob- 
serve, He  calls  them  the  ay-rows  of  the  Almighty; 
for  it  is  an  instance  of  the  power  of  God  abfive  that 
of  any  man,  that  lie  can  with  his  arrows  reach  the 
soul.  He  that  made  it  can  make  his  sword  to  ap- 
proach to  it.  The  poison  or  heat  of  these  arrows 
is  said  to  drink  uj)  his  spirit,  because  it  disturbed 
his  reason,  shook  his  resohition,  exhausted  his 
vigour,  and  threatened  his  life;  and  therefore  his 
passionate  expressions,  though  they  could  not  be  [ 


justified,  yet  might  be  excused.  2.  Of  what  he 
feared.  He  saw  himself  charged  by  the  terrors  of 
God,  as  by  an  army  set  in  balde-array,  and  sur- 
rounded by  them.  God,  by  his  terrors,  fought 
against  him:  as  he  had  no  comfort  when  he  retired 
inward  into  his  own  bosom,  so  he  had  none  when  he 
looked  upward  toward  Heaven.  He  that  used  to 
be  encouraged  with  the  consolations  of  God,  not 
only  wanted  those,  but  was  amazed  with  the  terrors 
of  God. 

III.  He  reflects  upon  his  friends  for  their  severe 
censures  of  his  complaints,  and  their  unskilful  ma- 
nagement of  his  case.  1.  Their  reproofs  were 
causeless.  He  complained,  it  is  true,  now  that  he 
was  in  this  affliction,  but  he  never  used  to  complain, 
as  those  do  who  are  of  a  fretful  unquiet  spirit,  when 
he  was  hi  prosperity:  he  did  not  bray  when  he  had 
grass,  nor  low  over  his  fodder,  v.  5.  But  now,  that 
he  was  utterly  deprived  of  all  his  comforts,  he  must 
be  a  stock  or  a  stone,  and  not  have  the  sense  of  an 
ox  or  a  wild  ass,  if  he  did  not  give  some  vent  to  his 
grief.  He  was  forced  to  eat  unsavoury  meats,  and 
was  so  poor,  that  he  had  not  a  grain  of  salt,  where- 
with to  relish  them,  nor  to  give  a  little  taste  to  the 
white  of  an  egg,  which  was  now  the  choicest  dish 
he  had  at  his  table,  v.  6.  Even  that  food  which  once 
he  would  have  scorned  to  touch,  now  he  was  glad 
of,  and  it  was  his  sorrowful  meat,  v.  7.  Note,  It 
is  wisdom  not  to  use  ourselves  or  our  children  to  be 
nice  and  dainty  about  meat  and  drink,  because  we 
know  not  how  we  or  they  may  be  reduced,  nor  how 
that  which  we  now  disdain  may  be  made  acceptable 
by  necessity.  2.  Their  comforts  were  sapless 
and  insipid;  so  some  understand,  v.  6,  7.  He  com- 
plains he  had  nothing  now  offered  him  for  his  re- 
lief, that  was  proper  for  him ;  no  cordial,  nothing  to 
revive  and  cheer  his  spirits;  what  they  had  afford- 
ed, was  in  itself  as  tasteless  as  the  white  of  an  egg, 
and,  when  applied  to  him,  as  loathsome  and  bur- 
thensome  as  the  most  sorrowful  meat.  I  am  sorry 
he  should  say  thus  of  what  Eliphaz  had  excellently 
well  said,  ch.  v.  8,  &c.  But  pee\  ish  spirits  are  too 
apt  thus  to  abuse  their  comforters. 

8.  Oh  that  I  might  have  my  request;  and 
that  God  would  grant  yne  the  ihing  that  T 
long  for;  9.  Even  that  it  would  please  God 
to  destroy  me  ;  that  he  would  let  loose  his 
hand,  and  cut  me  off!  10.  Then  should  1 
yet  have  comfort;  yea,  I  would  harden 
myself  in  sorrow :  let  h'uw  not  spare ;  for  I 
have  not  concealed  the  words  of  the  Holy 
One.  11.  What  is  my  strength,  thai  I 
should  hope?  and  what  is  mine  end,  that  I 
should  prolong  my  life  ?  12.  Is  my  strength 
the  strength  of  stones  ?  or  is  my  flesh  of 
brass  ?  1 .3.  Is  not  my  help  in  me  ?  and  is 
wisdom  driven  quite  fiom  me  ?' 

Ungoverned  passion  often  grows  more  violent 
when  it  meets  with  some  rebuke  and  check:  the 
troubled  sea  rages  most  when  it  dashes  against  a 
rock.  Job  had  been  courting  death,  as  that  which 
would  be  tlie  h;.])py  period  of  his  miseries,  ch.  iii. 
For  this,  Elij)haz  had  gravely  reproved  him:  but 
he,  instead  of  unsaying  it,  says  it  here  again  with 
more  vehemence  than  before;  it  is  as  ill  said  as  al- 
most anv  thing  we  meet  with  in  all  his  discourses, 
and  is  recorded  for  our  admonition,  not  our  imi- 
tation. 

I.  He  is  still  most  passionately  desirous  to  die,  as 
if  it  were  not  jiossiljle  that  he  should  ever  see  good 
davs  again  in  this  world,  or  that,  by  the  exercise  of 


JOB,  VI. 


39 


grace  and  devotion,  he  might  make  even  tliese  days 
of  affliction  ,y;o()d  days:  he  could  see  no  end  of  his 
trouble  but  deiitii,  and  had  not  p.^tience  to  wait  the 
time  appointed  for  tliat.  He  has  a  request  to  make, 
tliere  is  a  thing  lie  longs  for:  {v.  8.)  and  what  is 
that?  One  would  think  it  should  be,  '/Viut  it  would 
fileane  God  to  deliver  me,  and  restore  me  to  my 
prosperity  again;  no,  That  it  would  Jilease  God  to 
destroy  me,  v.  9.  "As  once  he  let  loose  his  hand 
to  make  nie  poor,  and  then  to  make  me  sick,  let 
him  loose  it  once  more  to  put  an  end  to  my  life. 
Let  him  give  the  fatal  stroke;  it  shall  be  to  me  the 
coufi  de  ifruce — l/ie  stroke  of  favour,"  as,  in  France, 
they  call  the  last  blow  which  despatches  them  that 
are  broken  on  the  wheel.  There  was  a  time  when 
destruction  from  the  Almighty  ivas  a  terror  to  Job; 
(ch.  xxxi.  23. )  yet  now  he  courts  the  destruction  of 
the  flesh,  but  in  hopes  that  the  spirit  should  be 
saved  in  the  day  of  the  Lord  Jesus. 

Observe,  Though  Job  was  extremely  desirous  of 
death,  and  very  angry  at  its  delays,  yet  lie  did  not 
offer  to  destrciy  himself,  nor  to  take  away  his  own 
life;  only  he  begged  that  it  would  filease  God  to 
destroy  him.  Seneca's  morals,  which  recommend 
self-murder  as  the  lawful  redress  of  insupportal)le 
grievances,  were  not  then  known,  nor  will  ever  be 
entertained  by  any  that  have  the  least  regard  to 
the  law  of  God  and  nature.  How  uneasy  soe\er 
the  soul's  confinement  in  the  body  may  be,  it  must 
by  no  means  break  prison,  but  wait  for  a  fair  dis- 
charge. 

II.  He  puts  this  desiix  into  a  prayer,  that  God 
would  grant  him  this  request,  that  it  would  please 
God  to  do  this  for  him.  It  was  his  sin,  so  passion- 
ately to  desire  the  hastening  of  his  own  death,  and 
offering  up  that  desire  to  God  made  it  no  better; 
nay,  what  looked  ill  in  his  wish,  looked  worse  in  his 
prayer;  for  we  ought  not  to  ask  any  thing  of  God 
but  wliat  we  can  ask  in  faith,  and  we  cannot  ask 
any  thing  in  faith,  but  what  is  agreeable  to  the  will 
of  God.  Passionate  prayers  are  the  worst  of  pas- 
sionate expressions;  for  we  should  lift  up  pure 
hands  without  wrath. 

III.  He  promises  himself  effectual  relief,  and  tlie 
redress  of  all  his  grievances,  by  the  stroke  of  death; 
{v.  10.)  "  Then  should  I  yet  have  con  fort,  wliich 
now  I  have  not,  nor  ever  expect  till  then."  See, 
1.  The  vanity  of  human  life;  so  uncertain  a  good 
is  it,  that  it  often  proves  men's  greatest  burthen, 
and  nothing  is  so  desirable  as  to  get  clear  of  it. 
Let  grace  make  us  willing  to  part  with  it,  when- 
ever God  calls;  for  it  may  so  happen,  that  even 
sense  may  make  us  desirous  to  pai't  with  it  before 
he  calls.  2.  The  hope  which  the  righteous  have 
in  their  death.  If  Job  had  not  had  a  good  con- 
science, he  could  not  have  spoken  with  this  assu- 
rance of  comfort  on  the  other  side  death,  that  circum- 
stance which  made  all  the  difference  between  the 
rich  man  and  Lazarus;  Jfonv  he  is  comforted,  and 
thou  art  tormented. 

IV.  He  challenges  death  to  do  its  worst.  If  he 
coul-d  not  die  without  the  dreadful  prefaces  of  bitter 
pains  and  agonies,  and  strong  convulsions;  if  he 
must  be  racked  before  he  be  executed,  yet,  in 
prospect  of  dying  at  last,  he  would  make  nothing  of 
dying  pangs.  "  I  would  harden  myself  in  sorrow, 
would  open  my  breast  to  receive  deatli's  darts,  and 
not  shrink  from  them;  let  him  not  spare;  I  desire 
no  mitigation  of  that  pain  which  will  put  a  happy 
period  to  all  my  pains.  Rather  than  not  die,  let 
me  die  so  as  to  feel  myself  die."  These  are  pas- 
sionate words,  which  might  better  have  been 
spared.  We  should  soften  ourselves  in  sorrow, 
that  we  may  receive  the  good  impressions  of  it, 
and,  by  the  sadness  of  the  countenance,  our  liearts, 
being  made  tender,  may  be  made  better;  but,  if  we 
harden  ourselves,  we  urovoke  God  to  proceed  in 


his  controversy; /or  when  he  judgeth,  he  will  over- 
come. It  is  great  presnm])i;on  to  dare  tlie  Al- 
mighty, c  nd  to  say.  Let  him  not  spare:  foi-,  ^dre  we 
stronger  than  iie'^  1  Cor.  x.  22.  We  are  much 
indebted  to  sparing  mercy;  it  is  bad  indeed  with  us 
when  we  are  weary  of  that.  Let  us  rather  say, 
with  David,    O  spare  me  a  little. 

V.  He  grounds  his  comfoitupon  the  testimony 
of  his  cijuscience  for  him,  that  he  had  been  faithful 
and  firm  to  his  profession  of  religion,  and  in  some 
degrees  useful  and  sei-\  iceable  to  the  glory  of  God 
in  his  generation;  I  have  not  concealed  the  words  of 
the  Holy  One.  Observ  e,  1.  Jolj  had  the  words  of 
the  Holy  One  committed  to  him.  The  people  of 
G()d  were,  at  tliat  time,  blessed  with  divine  reve- 
lation. 2.  It  was  his  comfort,  that  he  had  not  con- 
cealed them,  had  not  recei\ed  the  grace  of  God 
therein  in  vain.  (1.)  He  had  not  kept  them  from 
himself,  but  had  given  them  full  scope  to  operate 
upon  him,  and  in  every  thing  to  guide  and  govern 
him.  He  had  not  stifled  his  convictions,  imprisonea 
the  truth  in  unrighteousness,  nor  done  any  thing  to 
hinder  the  digestion  of  this  spiritual  food,  and  the 
operation  of  this  spiritual  physic.  Let  us  never 
conceal  God's  word  from  ourselv  es,  but  always  re- 
ceive it  in  the  light  of  it.  (2.)  He  had  not  kept 
them  to  himself,  but  had  been  ready,  on  all  occa- 
sions, to  communicate  his  knowledge  for  the  good 
of  others;  was  never  ashamed  or  afraid  to  own  the 
word  of  God  to  be  his  rule,  nor  remiss  in  his  en- 
deaxours  to  bring  others  into  an  acquaintance  with 
it.  Note,-  Those,  and  those  only,  may  promise 
themseh  es  comfort  in  death,  who  are  good,  and  do 
good,  while  they  live. 

VI.  He  justifies  himself  in  this  extreme  desire  of 
death,  from  the  deplorable  condition  he  was  now 
in,  V.  11,  12.  Eliphaz,  in  the  close  of  his  dis- 
course, had  put  him  in  hopes  that  he  should  yet  see 
a  good  issue  of  his  troubles;  but  poor  Job  puts  these 
cordials  away  from  him,  refuses  to  be  comforted, 
aljandons  himself  to  despair,  and  very  ingeniously, 
yet  perversely,  argues  against  the  encouragements 
that  were  gi\  en  him.  Disconsolate  spirits  will  rea- 
son strangely  against  themselves.  In  answer  to  the 
pleasing  prospects  Eliphaz  had  flattered  him  with, 
he  here  intimates,  1.  That  he  had  no  reason  to  ex- 
pect any  such  thing:  "  What  is  my  strength,  that 
I  should  hope?  You  see  how  I  am  weakened  and 
brought  low,  how  unable  I  am  to  grapple  with  my 
distempers;  and  therefore  what  re  son  have  I  to 
hope  that  I  should  outlive  them,  and  see  better 
days  ?  Is  my  strength  the  stre7igth  of  stones?  Are 
my  muscles  brass,  and  sinews  steel?  No,  they  are 
not,  and  therefore  I  cannot  hold  out  always  in  this 
pain  and  misery,  but  must  needs  sink  under  the 
load.  Had  I  strength  to  grapple  with  my  dis- 
temper, I  might  hope  to  look  through  it;  but,  alas! 
I  have  not;"  the  weakening  of  my  strength  in  the 
way  will  certainly  be  the  shortening  of  my  days, 
Ps.  cii.  23.  Note,  All  things  considered,  we  have 
no  reason  to  count  upon  the  long  continuance  of  life 
in  this  world.  What  is  our  strength  ?  It  is  de- 
pending strength;  we  have  no  more  strength  than 
God  gives  us,  for  in  him  we  live  and  mme:  it  is 
decaying  strength;  we  are  daily  spending  the  stock, 
and  by  degrees  it  will  be  exhausted.  It  is  dispro- 
portionable  to  the  encounters  we  may  meet  with; 
what  is  our  strength  to  be  depended  upon,  when 
two  or  three  days'  sickness  will  make  us  weak  as 
water?  Instead  of  expecting  a  long  life,  we  have 
reason  to  wonder  that  we  have  lived  hitherto,  and 
to  feel  that  we  are  hastening  off  apace.  2.  l^hat 
he  had  no  reason  to  desire  any  such  thing;  "  W/^at 
is  my  end,  that  I  should  desire  to  prolong  my  life? 
What  comfort  can  I  promise  myself  in  life,  com- 
parable to  the  comfort  I  promise  myself  in  death?'' 
Note,  Those  who,  through  grace,  are  ready  for  an 


40 


JOB,  VI. 


other  world,  cannot  see  much  to  invite  their  stay  in 
this  world,  or  to  make  them  fond  of  it.  That,  if  it 
be  God's  will,  we  may  do  him  more  service,  and 
may  get  to  be  fitter  and  ripe  f<^r  heaven,  is  an  end 
for  which  we  may  wish  the  prolonging  of  life,  in 
subserviency  to  our  chief  end;  but,  otherwise,  what 
can  we  propose  to  oui'selves  in  desiring  to  tarry 
here  ?  The  longer  life  is,  the  more  grievous  will 
its  burthens  be,  (Eccl.  xii.  1.)  and  the  longer  life 
is,  the  less  pleasant  will  be  its  delights,  2  Sam.  xix. 
34,  35.  We  have  already  seen  the  best  of  this 
world,  but  we  are  not  sure  that  we  have  seen  the 
worst  of  it. 

VII.  He  obviates  the  suspicion  of  his  being  deli- 
rious; {v.  13.)  Is  not  my  help  in  me'/  that  is, 
"  Have  I  not  the  use  of  my  reason,  with  which, 
I  thank  God,  I  can  help  myself,  though  you  do  not 
help  me.''  Do  you  think  wisdom  is  driven  quite 
from  me,  and  that  I  am  gone  distracted  ?  No,  I 
am  not  mad,  most  noble  Eliphaz,  but  sfieak  the 
words  of  truth  and  soberness"  Note,  Those  who 
have  grace  in  them,  who  have  the  evidence  of  it, 
and  have  it  in  exei-cise,  have  wisdom  in  them, 
which  will  be  their  help  in  the  worst  of  times. 
Sat  lucis  intus — They  have  light  within. 

1 4.  To  him  that  is  afflicted  pity  should 
be  showed  from  his  friend;  but  he  forsaketh 
the  fear  of  the  Ahiiighty.  1 5.  My  brethren 
have  dealt  deceitfully  as  a  brook,  and  as 
the  stream  of  brooks  they  pass  away;  16. 
VVhich  are  blackish  by  reason  of  the  ice, 
awe/ wherein  the  snow  is  hid:  17.  What 
time  they  wax  warm  they  vanish:  when  it 
is  hot,  they  are  consumed  out  of  their  place. 
18.  The  paths  of  their  way  are  turned 
aside;  they  go  to  nothing,  and  perish.  19. 
The  troops  of  Tenia  looked,  the  companies 
of  Sheba  waited  for  them.  20.  They  were 
confounded  because  they  had  hoped ;  they 
came  thither,  and  were  ashamed.  21.  For 
now  ye  are  nothing;  ye  see  my  casting 
down,  and  are  afraid. 

Eliphaz  had  been  very  severe  in  his  censures  of 
Job;  and  his  companions,  though  as  yet  they  had 
said  little,  yet  had  intimated  their  concurrence 
with  him:  their  unkindness  therein  poor  Job  here 
complains  of,  as  an  aggravation  of  his  calamity, 
and  a  further  excuse  of  his  desire  to  die;  for  what 
satisfaction  could  he  ever  expect  in  this  world, 
when  those  that  should  be  his  comfortei-s,  thus 
proved  his  tormentors .' 

I.  He  shows  what  reason  he  had  to  expect  kii-.d- 
ness  from  them.  His  expectation  was  grounded 
upon  the  common  ])rinciples  of  humanity;  {v.  14.) 
"  To  him  that  is  afflicted,  and  that  is  wasting  and 
melting  under  his  affliction,  pity  should  be  showed 
from  his  friend;  and  he  that  does  not  show  that 
pity,  forsakes  the  fear  of  the  jilmighty."  Note,  1. 
Com])assion  is  a  debt  owing  to  those  that  are  in 
affliction.  The  least  which  those  that  are  at  ease 
can  do  for  those  that  are  pained  and  in  anguish,  is, 
to  pity  them,  to  manifest  tlie  sincerity  of  a  tender 
concern  for  them,  and  to  sympathize  with  them; 
to  take  cognizance  of  their  case,  inquire  into  their 
grievances,  hear  their  complaints,  and  mingle 
tears  with  theirs;  to  comfort  them,  and  do  all  we 
can  to  help  and  relieve  them:  this  well  becomes 
the  members  of  the  same  body,  who  should  feel 
for  the  grievances  of  their  fellow-members,  not 
knowing  how  soon  the  same  may  be  their  own.  2. 
Inhumanity   is    impiety   and    ifreligion.     He  that 


withholds  compassion  from  his  friend,  forsakes  .the 
fear  of  the  Almighty.  So  the  Chaldee.  How 
dwells  the  love  of  God  in  that  man  ?  1  John  iii.  17. 
Surely  those  have  no  fear  of  the  rod  of  God  upon 
themselves,  who  have  no  compassion  for  those  that 
feel  the  smart  of  it.  See  Jam.  i.  27.  3.  Troubles 
are  the  trials  of  friendship.  When  a  man  is  afflict- 
ed, he  will  see  who  are  his  friends  indeed,  and  who 
are  but  pretenders;  for  a  brother  is  bom  for  adver- 
sity, Prov.  xvii.  17. — xviii.  24. 

II.  He  shows  how  wretchedly  he  was  disappoint- 
ed in  his  expectations  from  them;  (t^.  15.)  "  iVf v 
brethren,  who  should  have  helped  me,  have  dealt 
deceitfully  as  a  brook. "  They  came  by  appoint- 
ment, with  a  great  deal  of  ceremony,  to  mourn  with 
him,  and  to  comfort  him;  {ch.  ii.  11.)  and  some  ex- 
traordinary things  were  expected  from  such  great 
men,  such  good  men,  such  wise,  learned,  knowing 
men,  and  Job's  particular  friends;  none  questioned 
but  that  the  drift  of  their  discourses  would  be  to 
comfort  Job  with  the  remembrance  of  his  former 
piety,  the  assurance  of  God's  favour  to  him,  and 
the  prospect  of  a  glorious  issue;  but,  instead  of  this, 
they  most  barbarously  fall  upon  him  with  their  re- 
proaches and  censures,  condemn  him  as  a  hypo- 
crite, insult  over  his  calamities,  and  pour  vinegar, 
instead  of  oil,  into  his  wounds,  and  thus  they  dealt 
deceitfully  with  him.  Note,  1.  It  is  fraud  and  de- 
ceit not  only  to  violate  our  engagements  to  our 
friends,  but  to  frustrate  their  just  expectations  from 
us,  especially  the  expectations  we  have  raised.  2. 
It  is  our  wisdom  to  cease  from  man;  we  cannot  ex- 
pect too  little  from  the  creature,  nor  too  much  from 
the  Creator.  It  is  no  new  thing  even  for  brethren 
to  deal  deceitfully;  (Jer.  ix.  4,  5.  Mic.  vii.  5.)  let 
us  therefore  put  our  confidence  in  the  Rock  of  ages, 
not  in  broken  reeds;  in  the  Fountain  of  life,  not  in 
broken  cisterns.  God  will  outdo  our  hopes  as  much 
as  men  come  short  of  them. 

This  disappointment  which  he  met  with,  he  here 
illustrates  by  the  failing  of  biooks  in  summer. 

(1.)  The  similitude  is  very  elegant,  v.  15- -20. 
[1.]  Their  pretensions  are  fitly  compared  to  the 
great  show  which  the  brooks  make,  when  they  ai-e 
swelled  with  the  waters  of  a  land-flood,  by  the 
melting  of  the  ice  and  snow,  which  makes  them 
blackish  or  muddy,  t^.  16.  [2.]  His  expectations 
from  them,  which  their  coming  so  solemnly  to  com- 
fort him  had  raised,  he  compares  to  the  expecta- 
tion which  the  weary  thirsty  travellers  have  ot 
finding  water  in  the  summer  there,  where  they 
have  often  seen  it  in  great  abundance  in  the  winter, 
v.  19.  The  troops  of  Tema  and  Sheba,  the  cara- 
vans of  the  merchants  of  those  countries,  whose 
road  lay  through  the  deserts  of  Arabia,  looked  and 
waited  for  a  supply  of  water  from  those  broc  ks: 
"  Hard  by  here,"  says  one,  "  A  little  further," 
says  another,  "  when  I  last  travelled  this  way, 
there  was  water  enough,  we  shall  have  that  to  re- 
fresh us."  Where  we  have  met  with  relief  and 
comfort,  we  are  apt  to  expect  it  again;  and  yet  it 
does  not  follow:  for,  [3.]  The  disappointment  of 
his  expectation  is  here  compared  to  the  confiisi<n 
which  seizes  the  poor  travellers,  when  they  find 
heaps  of  sand  where  they  expected  floods  of  water. 
In  the  winter,  when  they  were  not  thirsty,  there 
was  water  en^uigh;  every  one  will  applaud  and  <.d 
mire  those  that  are  full  and  in  prosperity:  but,  in 
the  heat  of  summer,  when  they  needed  water,  then 
it  failed  them,  it  was  consumed,  (t.  17.)  it  was 
turned  aside,  v.  18.  When  those  who  are  rich 
and  high,  are  sunk  and  impoverished,  and  stand  in 
need  of  comfort,  then  those  who  before  gathered 
about  them,  stand  aloof  from  them,  who  before 
commended  them,  are  forward  to  run  them  down: 
thus  they  who  raise  their  expectations  high  from 
the  creature,  will  find  it  fail  them  then  when  it 


JOB,  VI. 


41 


should  help  them;  whereas  they  who  make  God 
their  confidence  have  help  in  the  lime  of  need, 
lico.  \\.  16.  They  who  make  gold  their  hope, 
sooner  or  later  will  be  ashamed  of  it,  and  of  their 
confidence  in  it;  (Ezek.  vii.  19.)  and  the  greater 
their  confidence  was,  the  greater  their  shame  will 
be;  They  were  confounded  because  they  had  hofitd, 
V.  20.  We  prepare  confusion  for  ourselves  by  our 
vain  hopes:  the  reeds  break  under  us,  because  we 
lean  upon  them.  If  we  build  a  house  upon  the 
stmd,  we  shall  certainly  be  d  iifounded,  for  it  will 
fcill  in  the  storm,  and  we  must  thank  ourselves  for 
being  such  fools  to  expect  it  would  stand.  We  are 
not  deceived  unless  we  deceive  ourselves. 

(2.)  The  application  is  very  close;  {v.  21.)  For 
novj  ye  arc  nothing.  They  seemed  to  be  some- 
what, but  in  conference  they  added  nothing  to  him. 
Allude  to  Gal.  ii.  6.  He  was  never  the  wiser, 
never  the  better,  for  the  visit  they  made  him. 
Note,  Whatevei-  complacency  we  may  take,  or 
whatever  confidence  we  may  put,  in  creatures,  how 
great  soever  they  may  seem,  and  how  dear  soever 
they  may  be,  to  us,  one  time  or  other  we  shall  say 
of  them,  JSToiv  ye  are  nothing.  When  Job  was  in 
prosperity,  his  friends  were  something  to  him,  he 
took  complacency  in  them  and  their  society;  but 
*'  A''oiv  ye  are  nothing,  now  I  can  find  no  ccmfoit 
but  in  God."  It  were  well  for  us,  if  we  had  always 
such  convictions  of  the  vanity  of  the  creature,  and 
its  insufficiency  to  make  us  happy,  as  we  have 
sometimes  had,  or  shall  ha\e,  on  a  sick-bed,  a 
death-bed,  or  in  trouble  of  conscience;  ^^  JVow  ye 
are  nothing.  You  are  not  what  you  have  been, 
what  you  should  be,  what  you  pretend  to  be,  what 
I  thought  you  would  have  been;  for  you  see  my 
casting  down,  and  are  ;  fraid.  When  you  saw  me 
in  my  elevation,  you  caressed  me;  but,  now  that 
you  see  me  in  my  dejection,  you  are  shy  of  me,  are 
afraid  rf  showing  yourselves  kind,  lest  I  should 
take  boldness  thence,  to  beg  something  of  you,  or 
to  borrow;"  (compare  v.  22.)  "you  are  afraid, 
lest,  if  you  own  me,  you  should  be  obliged  to  keep 
me."  Perhaps  they  were  afraid  of  catching  his 
distemper,  or  of  coming  within  smell  of  the  noisome- 
ness  of  it.  It  is  not  good,  either  out  of  pride  or 
niceness,  for  love  of  our  purses,  or  of  our  bodies,  to 
be  shy  of  those  in  distress,  and  afraid  of  coming 
near  them.     Their  case  may  soon  be  our  own. 

22.  Did  I  say,  Bring  unto  me?  or,  Give 
a  reward  for  me  of  your  substance  ?  23. 
Or,  Deliver  me  from  the  enemies'  hand  ? 
or.  Redeem  me  from  the  hand  of  the  mighty? 
24.  Teach  me,  and  I  will  hold  my  tongue ; 
and  cause  me  to  understand  wherein  I  have 
erred.  25.  How  forcible  are  right  words! 
but  what  doth  your  arguing  reprove  ?  26. 
Do  ye  imagine  to  reprove  words,  and  the 
speeches  of  one  that  is  desperate,  ivhich  are 
as  wind?  27.  Yea,  ye  overwhelm  the 
fatherless,  and  ye  dig  a  pit  for  your  friend. 
28.  Now,  therefore,  be  content:  look  upon 
me :  for  it  is  evident  unto  you  if  I  lie.  29. 
Return,  I  pray  you,  let  it  not  be  iniquity  ? 
yea,  return  again,  my  righteousness  is  in  it. 
30.  Is  there  iniquity  in  my  tongue?  Can- 
not my  taste  discern  perverse  things? 

Poor  Job  goes  on  here  to  upbraid  his  friends  with 
their  unkindness,  and  the  hard  usage  they  gave 
him.  He  here  appeals  to  themselves  concerning 
several  things  which  tended  both  to  justify  him  and 

Vol.  iii.-F 


condemn  them.  If  they  would  but  think  impar- 
tially, and  speak  as  they  thought,  they  could  not 
but  own, 

I.  That  though  he  was  necessitous,  yet  he  was 
not  craving,  nor  burthensome  to  his  friends.  Thc^se 
that  are  so,  whose  troubles  serve  them  to  beg  by, 
are  commonly  less  pitied  than  the  silent  poor.  Job 
would  be  glad  to  see  his  friends,  but  he  did  not  say, 
Bring  unto  me,  {y.  22. )  or,  Deliver  me,  v.  23.  He 
did  not  desire  to  put  them  to  any  expense;  did  not 
urge  his  friends,  either,  1.  To  make  a  collection 
for  him,  to  set  him  up  again  in  the  world,  though 
he  could  plead  that  his  losses  came  upon  him  by 
the  hand  of  God,  and  not  by  any  fault  or  folly  of 
his  own;  that  he  was  utterly  ruined  and  impo- 
verished; that  he  had  lived  in  good  condition,  and 
that,  when  he  had  wherewithal,  he  was  charitable, 
and  ready  to  help  those  that  were  in  distress;  that 
his  friends  were  rich,  and  able  to  help  him;  yet  he 
did  not  say,  Give  me  of  your  substance.  Note,  A 
good  man,  when  troubled  himself,  is  afraid  of  being 
troublesome  to  his  friends.  Or,  2.  To  raise  the 
country  for  him,  to  help  him  to  recover  his  cattle 
out  of  the  hands  of  the  Sabeans  and  Chaldeans,  or 
to  make  reprisals  upon  them;  "  Did  I  send  for  you 
to  deliver  me  out  of  the  hand  of  the  mighty?  No, 
I  ne\  er  expected  you  sh'aild  either  expose  your- 
selves to  any  danger,  or  put  yourselves  to  any 
charge,  upon  my  account;  I  wil'l  rather  sit  down 
content  under  my  affliction,  and  make  the  best  of 
it,  than  spunge  upon  my  friends."  St.  Paul  work- 
ed with  his  hands,  that  he  might  not  be  burthen- 
some  to  any.  Job's  not  asking  their  help,  did  not 
excuse  them  from  offering  it  when  he  needed  it, 
and  it  was  in  the  power  of  their  hands  to  give  it; 
but  it  much  aggravated  their  unkindness,  when  he 
desired  no  moi  e  from  them  than  a  good  look,  and 
a  good  word,  and  yet  could  not  obtain  them.  It 
often  happens  that  fn  m  man,  even  when  we  ex- 
pect little,  we  have  less,  but  from  God,  even  when 
we  expect  much,  we  have  more,  Eph.  iii.  20. 

II.  That  though  he  differed  in  opinion  from 
them,  yet  he  was  not  ol:)stinate,  but  ready  to  yield 
to  conviction,  and  to  strike  sail  to  truth,  as  soon  as 
ever  it  was  made  to  appear  to  him  that  he  was  in 
an  error;  {v.  24,  25.)  "If,  instead  of  invidious  re- 
flections and  uncharitable  insinuations,  you  will 
give  me  plain  instructions  and  solid  arguments, 
which  shall  carry  their  own  evidence  along  with 
them,  I  am  ready  to  acknowledge  my  eiTor,  and 
own  myself  in  a  fault;  Teach  me,  and  I  will  hold 
my  tongue,  for  I  have  often  found,  with  pleasure 
and  wondei-,  how  forcible  right  words  are:  but  the 
method  yf  u  take  will  never  make  proselytes;  what 
doth  your  arguing  reprove?  Your  hypothesis  is 
false,  your  surmises  are  groundless,  your  manage- 
ment weak,  and  your  application  peevish  and  un- 
charitable." Note,  1.  Fair  reasoning  has  a  com- 
manding power,  and  it  is  a  wonder  if  men  are  not 
conquered  by  it;  but  railing  and  foul  language  is 
impotent  and  foolish,  and  it  is  no  wonder  if  meii  are 
exasperated  and  hardened  by  it.  2.  It  is  the  un- 
doubted character  of  every  honest  man,  that  he  is 
truly  desirous  to  have  his  mistakes  rectified,  and  to 
be  made  to  understand  wherein  he  has  erred* 
and  that  right  words,  when  they  appear  to  him  to 
be  so,  though  contrary  to  his  former  sentiments, 
are  both  forcible  and  acceptable. 

III.  That  though  he  had  been  indeed  in  a  f  ult, 
yet  they  ought  not  to  have  given  him  such  hard 
usage;  (i'.  26,  27.)  ^' Do  you  imagine,  or  contrive 
with  a  great  deal  of  art,"  (for  so  the  word  signi- 
fies,) *Ho  r(°/?roT'(f  worfi^s,  some  passionate  expres- 
sions of  mine  in  this  desperate  condition,  as  if  they 
were  certain  indications  of  reigning  impiety  and 
atheism?  A  little  candour  and  charity  would  have 
served  to  excuse  them,  and  to  put  a  better  con- 


42 


JOB,  VII. 


struction  upon  them.  Shall  a  man's  spiritual  state 
be  judged  of  by  some  rash  and  hasty  words,  which 
d  burp rising  trouble  extorts  from  him?  Is  it  fair,  Is 
it  kind,  Is  it  just,  to  criticise  in  such  a  case?  Would 
you  youi'sehes  be  served  thus?"  Two  things  aggra- 
vated their  unkind  treatment  of  him.  1.  That  they 
took  ad\  antage  of  his  weakness,  and  the  helpless 
condition  he  was  in;  Ye  overiv helm  the  fatherless, 
a  proverbial  expression,  bespeaking  tliat  which  is 
uiost  barbarous  and  inhuman.  "  The  fatherless 
c-iniiot  secure  themselves  from  insults;  which  im- 
L)  Jidens  men  of  base  and  sordid  spirits  to  insult 
tiieni  and  trample  upon  them;  and  you  do  so  by 
uic."  Job,  being  a  childless  father,  thought  him- 
self as  much  exposed  to  injury  as  a  fatherless  child, 
^^Ps.  cxxvii.  5.)  and  had  reason  to  take  it  ill  at 
tnose  who,  therefore,  triumphed  over  him.  Let 
in.-se,  wno  overwhelm  and  overpower  them  that 
upon  auy  account  may  be  looked  upon  as  father- 
less, know  that  therein  they  not  only  put  off  the 
compassions  of  man,  but  fight  against  the  compas- 
sions of  God,  wlio  is,  and  will  be,  a  Father  of 
tae  fatherless,  and  a  Helper  of  the  helpless.  2. 
That  they  made  pretence  of  kindness;  "  You  dig  a 
flit  for  your  friend;  not  only  you  are  unkind  to  me, 
who  am  your  friend,  but,  under  colour  of  friend- 
ship, you  insnare  me."  When  they  came  to  see 
and  sit  with  him,  he  thought  he  might  speak  his 
mind  freely  to  them,  and  that  tlie  more  bitter  his 
complaints  to  them  were,  the  more  they  would 
ha\  e  endeavoured  to  comfort  him.  This  made 
him  take  a  greater  liberty  than  otherwise  he  would 
have  done.  David,  though  he  smothered  his  re- 
sentments when  the  wicked  were  before  him,  it  is 
likely,  would  have  given  vent  to  them,  if  none  had 
been  by  but  friends,  Ps.  xxxix.  1.  But  this  free- 
dom of  speech,  which  their  professions  of  concern 
for  him  made  him  use,  had  exposed  him  to  their 
censures,  and  so  they  might  be  said  to  dig  a  pit  for 
him.  Tnus,  when  our  hearts  are  hot  within  us, 
what  is  ill  d'  me  we  are  apt  to  misrepresent,  as  if 
done  designedly. 

IV.  T.iat  though  he  had  let  fall  some  passionate 
expressions,  yet,  in  tiie  main,  he  was  in  the  right,  and 
th.a  his  afflictions,  though  very  extraordinary,  did 
not  prove  him  to  be  a  hypocrite,  or  a  wicked  man. 
His  righteousness  he  holds  fast,  and  will  not  let 
it  go. 

For  the  evincing  of  it,  he  here  appeals, 

1.  To  what  they  saw  in  him;  {y.  28.)  '^  Be  con- 
tent, and  look  ujion  me;  what  do  you  see  in  me, 
that  ijespeaks  me  either  a  mad  man,  or  a  wicked 
man?  Nay,  look  in  my  face,  and  you  may  discern 
there  the  uulications  of  a  patient  and  submissive 
spirit,  for  all  this.  Let  the  show  of  my  countenance 
Witness  for  me,  that  th'  ugh  I  have  cursed  my  day, 
I  do  not  curse  my  (iod. "  Or  rather,  "Look  upon 
my  ulcers  and  sore  boils,  and  by  them  it  will  be 
eident  to  you  that  I  do  not  lie;  that  is,  "that  I 
do  not  complain  without  cause.  Let  your  own  eyes 
convince  you  that  my  condition  is  very  sad,  and 
that  I  do  not  quarrel  with  God,  by  making  it  worse 
than  it  is." 

2.  To  what  they  heard  from  him;  (v.  30.)  "You 
hear  what  I  have  to  say;  Is  there  iniquity  in  my 
longuv?  That  iniquity  that  you  charge  me  with? 
Have  I  blasphemed  God,  or  renounced  him?  Are 
not  my  present  arguings  right?  Do  not  you  per- 
ceive, bv  what  I  say,  that  1  can  discern  perverse 
things?  1  can  discover  your  fallacies  and  mistakes, 
and  if  I  were  myself  in  an  error,  I  could  perceive 
it.   Whatev  er  you  think  of  me,  I  know  what  I  say. " 

3.  To  their  own  second  and  sober  thoughts; 
{v.  29.)  "  Return,  I  pray  you,  consider  the  thing 
over  again,  without  prejudice  and  ])artiality,  and  let 
not  tlie  result  be  iniquity,  let  it  not  be  an  unrighte- 
ous sentence;  and  you  will  find  my  righteousness 


is  in  it,"  that  is,  "I  am  in  the  right  in  this  matter; 
and  though  I  cannot  keep  my  temper  as  I  sliould,  I 
keep  my  integrity,  and  have  not  said,  or  done,  or 
suffered,  any  thing  which  will  prove  me  other  than 
an  honest  man. "  A  just  cause  desires  nothing  more 
than  a  iust  hearing,  and,  if  need  be,  are-hearing. 

CHAP.  Nil. 

Job,  in  this  chapter,  goes  on  to  express  the  bitter  sense  he 
had  of  his  calamities,  and  to  justify  himself  in  his  desire 
of  death.  I.  He  complains  to  himself  and  liis  friends  of 
his  troubles,  and  the  constant  agitation  he  was  in,  v. 
1 . .  6.  11.  He  turns  to  God,  and  expostulates  with 
him,  V.  7.  to  the  end.  In  which,  1.  He  pleads  the  final 
period  which  death  puts  to  our  present  slate,  v.  7  . .  10. 
2.  He  passionately  complains  of  the  mi-scrable  condition 
he  was  now  in,  v.  11 ..  16.  3.  He  wonders  that  God  will 
thus  contend  with  him,  and  begs  for  the  pardon  of  his 
sins,  and  a  speedy  release  out  of  his  miseries,  v.  17 .  .  21. 
It  is  hard  to  methodise  the  speeches  of  one  who  owned 
himself  almost  desperate,  ch.  vi.  26. 

1.  ¥S  there  not  an  appointed  time  to  man 
upon  earlh  ?  are  not  his  clays  also  like 
the  days  of  a  hireling  /  2.  As  a  servant 
earnestly  desireth  the  shadow,  and  as  a 
hireling  looketh  for  the  reheard  of  his  work  ; 
S.  So  am  I  made  to  possess  months  of  va- 
nity, and  wearisome  nights  are  appointed 
to  me.  4.  When  I  lie  down,  J  say,  When 
shall  I  arise,  and  the  night  be  gone  ?  and  I 
am  full  of  tossings  to  and  fro  unto  the 
dawning  of  the  day.  5.  My  flesh  is  cloth- 
ed with  worms  and  clods  of  dust;  my  skin 
is  broken,  and  become  loathsome.  6.  My 
days  are  swifter  than  a  weaver's  shuttle, 
and  are  spent  without  hope. 

Job  is  here  excusing  what  he  could  not  justify, 
even  his  inordinate  desire  of  death.  W^hy  should 
he  not  wish  for  the  period  of  life,  which  would  be 
the  period  of  his  miseries?  To  enforce  this  reason, 
he  argues, 

I.  From  the  general  condition  of  man  upon  earth ; 
{v.  1.)  "  He  is  of  few  days,  and  full  of  trouble. 
Every  man  must  die  shortly,  and  every  man  has 
some  reason  (more  or  less)  to  desire  to  die  shortly; 
and,  therefore,  why  should  yru  impute  it  to  me  as 
so  heinous  a  crime,  that  /  wish  to  die  shortly?"  Or 
thus;  "  Pray  mistake  not  my  desires  of  death,  as  if 
I  thought  the  time  appointed  of  God  could  be  anti- 
cipated; no,  I  know  very  well  that  thaf'  is  fixed; 
only  in  such  language  as  this,  I  take  the  liberty  to 
express  my  present  uneasiness.  Is  there  not  an  afi- 
fiointed  time  {a  warfare,  so  the  word  is)  to  man 
ufion  earth?  And  are  not  his  days  here  like  the  days 
of  a  hireling?"  Observe, 

1.  Man's  present  place:  he  is  upon  earth,  which 
God  has  given  to  the  children  of  men,  Ps.  cxv.  16. 
This  bespeaks  man's  meanness  and  inferiority:  how 
much  below  the  inhabitants  of  yonder  elevated  and 
refined  regions  is  he  situated!  It  also  bespeaks 
God's  mercy  to  him:  he  is  yet  u/ion  the  earth,  not 
under  it;  nn  earth,  not  in  hell.  Our  time  on  earth 
is  limited  and  short,  according  to  the  narrow 
bounds  of  this  earth;  but  heaven  cannot  be  mea- 
sured, nor  the  days  of  hea\  en  numbered. 

2.  His  continuance  in  that  place:  is  there  not  a 
time  appointed  for  his  abode  here?  Yes,  certainly 
there  is,  and  it  is  easy  to  say  by  whom  the  appoint- 
ment is  made,  even  by  Him  that  made  us  and  set 
us  here.  We  are  not  to  be  on  this  earth  alwavs, 
nor  long,  but  for  a  certain  time,  which  is  detei- 
mined  by  Him  in  whose  hand  our  times  are.  We 
are  not  to  think  that  we  are  governed  b)'  the  blind 


JOB,  VII. 


43 


fate  of  the  Stoics,  or  by  the  blind  fortune  of  the 
Epicureans,  but  by  the  wise,  holy,  and  sovereign, 
counsel  of  God. 

3.  His  condition  during  that  continuance:  man's 
life  is  a  ivarfare,  and  as  the  days  of  a  hireling.  We 
are  every  owq  of  us  to  look  upon  ourselves  in  this 
world,  (1.)  As  soldiers,  exposed  to  hardship,  and 
in  tlie  midst  of  enemies;  we  must  ser\e  and  be  un- 
der command;  ;>nd,  when  our  warfare  is  accom- 
plished, we  must  be  disbanded,  dismissed  with 
either  shame  or  honoui-,  according  to  what  we  hive 
tione  in  the  body.  (2.)  As  day-labourers,  that  have 
the  work,  of  the  day  to  do  in  its  day,  and  must  make 
up  tlieir  account  at  night. 

II.  From  his  own  condition  at  this  time.  He  had 
as  much  reason,  he  thought,  to  wish  for  death,  as 
a  poor  servant  or  hireling,  tuat  is  tired  with  his 
work,  has  to  wish  for  the  shadows  of  the  evening, 
when  he  shall  receive  his  penny,  and  go  to  rest,  v. 
2.  The  darkness  of  the  night  is  as  welcome  to  the 
labourer,  as  the  light  of  the  morning  is  to  the 
watchman,  Ps.  cxxx.  6.  The  God  of  nature  has 
provided  for  the  repose  of  labourers,  and  no  won- 
der that  they  desire  it.  The  sleep  of  the  labouring 
man  is  sweet,  Eccl.  v.  12.  No  pleasure  more  grate- 
ful, more  relishing,  to  the  luxurious,  than  rest  to 
the  labourers;  nor  can  any  rich  man  take  so  much 
satisfacrion  in  the  return  of  his  rent-days,  as  the 
hii-eling  in  his  day's  wages.  The  comparison  is 
plain,  the  application  is  concise,  and  somewhat  ob- 
scure; but  we  must  supply  a  word  or  two,  and  then 
it  is  easy:  exactness  ot  language  is  not  to  be  expect- 
ed from  one  in  Job's  condition.  "  As  a  servant  ear- 
nestly desires  the  shadow,  so,  and  for  the  same  rea- 
son, I  earnestly  desire  death,  for  I  am  made  to 
possess,"  &c.     Hear  his  complaint: 

1.  His  days  were  useless,  and  had  been  so  a  great 
wliile;  he  was  wholly  taken  off  from  business,  and 
utterly  unfit  foi-  it.  Evei'y  day  was  a  burtlien  to 
him,  because  he  was  in  no  capacity  of  doing  good, 
or  of  spending  it  to  any  purpose.  FJ  I'itee partem  non 
attigit  ullam — He  cnikl  not  Jill  uji  his  time  nvith  any 
thing  that  would  turn  to  accojuit;  this  he  calls /ios- 
sessing  months  of  vanity,  v.  3.  It  very  much  in- 
creases the  affliction  of  sickness  and  age,  to  a  good 
man,  that  he  is  thereby  forced  from  his  useful- 
ness. He  insists  not  so  much  upon  it,  that  they 
are  days  in  which  he  has  no  pleasure,  as  that  they 
are  days  in  which  he  does  no  good;  on  that  account, 
they  are  months  of  vanity:  but  when  we  are  dis- 
abled to  work  for  God,  if  we  will  but  sit  still  qui- 
etly for  him,  it  is  all  one;  we  shall  be  accepted. 

2.  His  nights  were  restless,  v.  3,  4.  The  night 
relieves  the  toil  and  fatigue  of  the  day,  not  only  to 
the  labourers,  but  to  the  sufferers:  if  a  sick  man  can 
but  get  a  little  sleep  in  the  night,  it  helps  nature, 
and  it  is  hoped  that  he  will  do  well,  John  xi.  12. 
However,  be  the  trouble  what  it  will,  sleep  gives 
some  intermission  to  the  cares,  and  pains,  and 
griefs,  that  afflict  us:  it  is  the  parenthesis  of  our 
sorrows:  but  poor  Job  could  not  gain  this  relief. 
(1.)  His  nights  were  wearisome,  and,  instead  of 
taking  any  rest,  he  did  but  tire  himself  more  with 
tossing  to  and  fro  until  morning.  Those  that  are  in 
great  uneasiness,  through  pain  of  body,  or  anguish 
of  mind,  think,  by  changing  sides,  changing  places, 
changing  postures,  to  get  some  ease;  but,  while  the 
cause  is  the  same  within,  it  is  all  to  no  purpose;  it  is- 
but  a  resemblance  of  a  fretful  discontented  spirit, 
that  is  ever  shifting,  but  never  easy.  This  made 
him  dread  the  night  as  much  as  the  servant  desires 
it,  and,  when  he  lay  down,  to  say,  IVhen  will  the 
night  be  gone?  (2. )  These  wearisome  nights  were 
appointed  to  him;  God,  who  determines  the  times 
before  appointed,  had  allotted  him  such  nights  as 
t]  ese.  Whatever  is,  at  any  time,  grievous  to  us,  it 
is  good  to  see  it  appointed  for  us,  that  we  may  ac- 


quiesce in  the  event,  not  only  as  unavoidable, 
because  appointed,  but  as,  therefore,  designed  for 
some  hoi)-  end.  When  we  have  comfortable  nights, 
we  must  see  them  also  appointed  to  us,  and  be 
thankful  for  them;  many  better  than  we  have  wea- 
risome nights. 

3.  His  body  was  noisome,  x'.  5.  His  sores  bred 
worms,  the  scabs  were  like  clods  of  dust,  and  his 
skin  was  broken;  so  evil  was  the  disease  which 
cleaved  fast  to  him.  See  what  vile  bodies  we  have, 
and  what  little  reason  we  have  to  pamper  them,  or 
be  proud  of  them;  they  ha\e  in  themselves  the 
principles  of  their  own  coriuption:  as  fond  as  we 
are  of  them  now,  the  time  may  come,  when  we 
may  loathe  them,  and  long  to  get  rid  of  them. 

4.  His  life  was  hastening  apace  towards  a  period, 
V.  6.  He  thought  he  had  no  reason  to  expect  a 
long  life,  f(;r  he  found  himself  declining  fast;  {xk  6.) 
My  days  are  swfter  than  a  weaver^s  shuttle,  that 
is,  "  My  time  is  now  but  short,  and  there  are  but  a 
few  sands  more  in  my  glass,  which  will  speedily  run 
out."  Natural  motions  are  more  swift  near  the 
centre;  Job  thought  his  days  ran  swiftly,  because 
he  thought  he  should  soon  be  at  his  journey's  end; 
he  looked  upon  them  as  good  as  spent  already,  and 
he  was  therefore  without  hope  of  being  restored  to 
his  former  prosperity.  It  is  applicable  to  maii's 
life  in  general;  our  days  are  like  a  weaver's  shuttle, 
thrown  from  one  side  of  the  web  to  the  other,  in  the 
twinkling  of  an  eye,  and  then  back  again,  to  and 
fro,  un'^il,  at  length,  it  is  quite  exhausted  of  the 
thread  it  carried;  and  then  we  cut  off,  like  a  weaver, 
our  life,  Isa.  xxxviii.  12.  Time  hastens  on  apace,  the 
motitn  of  it  cannot  be  stopped,  and,  when  it  is  past, 
it  cannot  be  recalled.  While  we  are  living,  we  ;  re 
sowing,  (Gal.  vi.  8.)  so  we  are  weaving;  every  day, 
like  the  shuttle,  leaves  a  thread  behind  it;  many 
weave  the  spider's  web,  which  will  fail  them,  ch. 
viii.  14.  If  we  are  weaving  to  ourselves  holy  gar- 
ments and  robes  of  righteousness,  we  shall  ha\e 
the  benefit  of  them  when  our  work  comes  to  be  re- 
viewed, and  every  man  shall  reap  as  he  sowed,  and 
wear  as  he  wove. 

7.  O  remember  that  my  life  is  wind : 
mine  eye  shall  no  more  see  good.  8.  The 
eye  of  him  that  hath  seen  me  shall  see  me 
no  more :  thine  eyes  are  upon  me,  and  I  am 
not.  9.  yis  the  cloud  is  consumed  and  va- 
nisheth  away;  so  he  that  goeth  down  1o 
the  grave  sliiill  come  up  no  more.  10.  He 
shall  return  no  more  to  his  house,  neither 
shall  his  place  know  him  any  more.  1 1 . 
Tiierefore  I  v\'ill  not  refrain  my  mouth ;  I 
will  speak  in  the  anguish  of  my  spirit ;  1 
will  complain  in  the  bitterness  of  my  soul. 
12.  Ajji  I  a  sea,  or  a  whale,  that  thou  set- 
test  a  watch  over  me?  13.  When  I  say. 
My  bed  shall  comfort  me,  my  couch  shall 
ease  my  complaint;  14.  Then  thou  scarest 
me  with  dreams,  and  terrifiest  me  through 
visions:  15.  So  that  my  soul  choosedi 
strangling,  and  death  rather  than  my  life. 
1 6.  I  loathe  it :  I  would  not  live  always : 
let  me  alone ;  for  my  days  are  vanity. 

Job,  observing  perhaps  that  his  friends,  though 
they  would  not  interrupt  him  in  his  discourse,  yet 
began  to  grow  weary,  and  not  to  heed  much  what 
he  said,  here  turns  to  God,  and  speaks  to  him.  If 
men  will  not  hear  us,  God  will;  if  men  cannot  help 
us,  he  can;  for  his  arm  is  not  shortened,  neither  is 


44 


JOB,  VII. 


/j/.9  ear  heavy.  Yet  we  must  not  go  to  school  to 
J.-il)  here,  to"leam  how  to  speak  to  God,  for,  it  must 
he  c;riitessed,  there  is  a  great  mixture  of  passion 
and  corruption  in  what  he  here  says:  but  if  God  be 
not  extreme  to  mark  what  his  people  say  amiss,  let 
ns  also  make  the  best  of  it.  Job  is  here  begging  of 
God  either  to  ease  him  or  end  him. 

He  here  represents  himself  to  God, 

I.  As  a  dying  man,  surely  and  speedily  dying. 
It  is  good  for  us,  when  we  are  sick,  to  think  and 
speak  of  death,  for  sickness  is  sent  on  puroose  to 
put  us  in  mind  of  it;  and  if  we  be  duly  mindful  of  it 
ourselves,  we  may,  in  faith,  put  God  in  mind  of  it, 
as  Job  does  here;  {v.  7.)  0  remember  that  my  life 
is  vjind.  He  recommends  himself  to  God  as  an 
object  of  his  pity  and  compassion,  with  this  con- 
sideration, that  he  was  a  very  weak,  frail,  creature, 
his  abode  in  this  world  short  and  uncertain,  his 
removal  out  of  it  sure  and  speedy,  and  his  return 
to  it  again  impossible,  and  never  to  be  expected; 
that  his  life  was  wind,  as  the  lives  of  all  men  are, 
noisy  perhaps,  and  blustering,  like  the  wind,  but 
vain  and  empty,  soon  gone,  and,  when  gone,  past 
recall.  God  had  compassion  on  Israel,  remember- 
ing that  they  -were  but  flesh,  a  wind  that  fiasseth 
away,  and  cometh  not  again,  Ps.  Ixxviii.  38,  39. 
Observe, 

1.  The  pious  reflections  Job  makes  upon  his  own 
life  and  death.  Such  plain  truths  as  these  con- 
cerning the  shortness  and  vanity  of  life,  the  un- 
avoidableness  and  irrecoverableness  of  death,  then 
do  us  good,  when  we  think  and  speak  of  them  with 
application  to  oursehes.     Let  us  consider,  then, 

(1.)  That  we  must  shortly  take  our  leave  of  all 
the  things  that  are  seen,  that  are  temporal.  The 
eye  of  the  body  must  be  closed,  and  shall  no  more 
see  good,  the  good  which  most  men  set  their  hearts 
upon,  for  their  cry  is,  Who  will  make  us  to  see 
good?  Ps.  iv.  6.  If  we  be  such  fools  as  to  place 
our  happiness  in  visible  good  things,  what  will  be- 
come of  us  when  they  shall  be  for  ever  hid  from 
our  eyes,  and  we  shall  no  more  see  good?  Let  us, 
therefore,  live  by  that  faith  which  is  the  substance 
and  evidence  of  things  not  seen. 

(2.)  That  we  must  then  remove  to  an  invisible 
world:  the  eye  of  him  that  hath  here  seen  me,  shall 
see  me  no  more  there.  It  is  'hStn; — aii  unseen  state, 
V.  8.  Death  removes  our  lovers  and  friends  into 
darkness,  (Ps.  Ixxxviii.  18.)  and  will  shortly  re- 
move us  out  of  their  sight;  when  we  go  hence  we 
shall  be  seen  no  more,  (Ps.  xxxix.  13.)  but  go  to 
converse  with  the  things  that  are  not  seen,  that  are 
eternal. 

(3.)  That  God  can  easily,  and  in  a  moment,  put 
an  end  to  our  lives,  and  send  us  to  another  world; 
(t.  8.)  "Thine  eyes  are  u/ion  me,  and  I  am  not : 
thou  canst  look  me  into  eternity,  frown  me  into  the 
grave,  when  thou  pleasest." 

Shoiild'st  thou,  dUpleas'd,  give  me  a  frowning  look, 
I  sink,  I  (lie,  as  if  witli  lightning  struck. 

Sir  R.  Blackmorb. 

He  takes  away  our  breath,  and  we  die;  nay,  he 
but  looks  on  the  earth,  and  it  trembles,  Ps.  civ. 
29,  32. 

(4.)  That  when  we  are  once  removed  to  another 
world,  we  must  never  return  to  this.  There  is 
constant  passing  from  this  world  to  the  other,  but 
Vestigia  nulla  retrorsum — There  is  no  refia/ising. 
••  Therefore,  Lord,  show  me  kindness  while  I  am 
here,  for  I  shall  return  no  more  to  receive  kindness 
in  this  world."  Or,  "Therefore,  Lord,  kindly 
-/ase  me  bv  death,  for  that  will  be  a  perpetual  ease, 
.  shall  return  no  more  to  the  calamities  of  this  life." 
♦\'hen  we  are  dead,  we  are  gone,  to  return  no 
inore,  [1.]  From  our  house  under  ground,  v.  9. 
He  that  goeth  down  to  the  grave,  shall  come  ufi  no 


more,  until  the  general  resurrection,  shall  come  up 
no  more  to  his  place  in  this  world.  Dying  is  work 
that  is  to  be  done  but  once,  and  therefoi-e  it  had 
need  be  well  done:  an  error  theie  is  pSret  retrieve. 
This  is  illustrated  by  the  blotting  out  and  scattering 
of  a  cloud.  It  is  consumed,  and  vanisheth  awav,  is 
resolved  into  air,  and  never  knits  again:  other 
clouds  arise,  but  the  same  cloud  never  returns:  so 
a  new  generation  of  the  children  of  men  is  raised 
up,  but  the  former  generation  is  quite  consuuied, 
and  vanishes  away.  When  we  see  a  cloud  which 
looks  great,  as  if  it  would  eclipse  the  sun  and  drown 
the  earth,  of  a  sudden  dispersed  and  disappearing, 
let  us  say,  "Just  such  a  thing  is  the  life  of  man;  it 
is  a  -vapour  that  appears  for  a  little  while,  and  then 
vanishes  away."  [2.]  To  return  no  more  to  our 
house  above  ground,  v.  10.  He  shall  return  no 
more  to  his  house,  to  the  possession  and  enjoyment 
of  it,  to  the  business  and  delights  of  it:  others  will 
take  possession,  and  keep  it  till  they  also  res'gn  to 
another  generation.  The  rich  man  in  hell  des'red 
Lazarus  might  be  sent  to  his  house,  knowing  it  was 
to  no  purpose  to  ask  that  he  might  have  leave  to  go 
himself.  Glorified  saints  shall  return  no  more  to 
the  cares,  and  burthens,  and  sorrows,  of  their 
house;  nor  damned  sinners  to  the  gaieties  and 
pleasures  of  their  house.  Their  place  shall  no 
more  know  them,  no  more  own  them,  hive  no 
more  acquaintance  with  them,  nor  be  any  more 
under  their  influence.  It  concerns  us  to  secure  a 
better  place  when  we  die,  for  this  will  no  more 
own  us. 

2.  The  passionate  inference  he  draws  from  it. 
From  these  premises  he  might  have  drawn  a  bet'.ei 
conclusion  than  this,  {y.  11.)  Therefore  I  will  not 
refrain  my  mouth,  I  will  speak,  t  will  complain. 
lioly  David,  when  he  had  been  meditating  on  the 
frailty  of  human  life,  made  a  contrary  use  of  it; 
(Ps.  xxxix.  9. )  /  was  dumb,  and  opened  not  my 
mouth :  but  Job,  finding  himself  near  expiring, 
hastens  as  much  to  make  his  complaint,  as  if  he 
had  been  to  make  his  last  will  and  testament,  r r  as 
if  he  could  not  die  in  peace  until  he  had  given  vent 
to  his  passion.  When  we  have  but  a  few  breaths 
to  draw,  we  should  spend  them  in  the  holy,  gra- 
cious, breathings  of  faith  and  prayer,  not  in  the 
noisome,  noxious,  breathings  of  sin  and  corruptirn. 
Better  die  praying  and  praising,  than  die  complain- 
ing and  quarrelling. 

II.  As  a  distempered  man,  sorely  and  grievously 
distempered,  both  in  body  and  mind.  In  this  ]iart 
of  his  representation,  he  is  verv  peevish,  as  if  God 
dealt  hardly  with  him,  and  laid  upon  hint  more 
than  was  meet.  Am  T  a  sea,  or  a  whale?  v.  12. 
"A  raging  sea,  that  must  be  kept  within  brunds, 
to  check  its  proud  waves,  or  an  unruly  whale,  that 
must  be  restrained  by  force  from  devouring  all  the 
fishes  of  the  sea?  Am  I  so  strong,  that  there  needs 
so  much  ado  to  hold  me?  So  boisterous,  that  i  o 
less  than  all  these  mightv  bonds  of  affliction  will 
serve  to  tame  me,  and  kcej)  me  within  compass?" 
We  are  very  apt,  when  we  are  in  afflicti<'n,  to 
complain  of  God  and  his  providence,  as  if  he  laid 
more  restraint  upon  us  than  there  is  occas'cn  f'  r; 
whereas  we  arc  never  in  heaviness  but  when  there 
is  need,  or  beyond  the  just  measure. 

1.  He  complains  that  he  could  n^t  rest  in  his 
bed,  T'.  13,  14.  There  we  promise  rursehes  snne 
repose,  when  we  are  fatigued  with  labotir,  rain,  f-r 
travel;  My  bed  shall  comfort  me,  and  my  couch 
shall  ease  my  complaint;  sleep  will,  for  a  tinie,  gi^  e 
me  some  relief;  it  does  so;  it  is  appointed  for  that 
end;  many  a  time  it  has  eased  us,  and  we  ha\(: 
awaked  refreshed,  and  with  new  vigour.  \\'beii 
it  is  so,  we  have  great  reason  to  be  thankful;  but  it 
was  not  so  with  poor  Job;  his  bed,  instead  of  com 
forting  him,  terrified  him;  and  his  couch,  instead 


JOB,  VII. 


45 


of  easing  his  complaint,  added  to  it;  for  if  he  drop- 
ped asleep,  he  was  disturbed  with  his  frightful 
d  I  earns,  and  when  those  awaked  him,  still  he  was 
haunted  with  dreadful  appaiitions.  This  was  it, 
tliat  made  the  night  so  unwelcome  and  wearisome 
to  him  as  it  was;  {v.  4.)  When  shall  I  arisen  Note, 
God  can,  when  he  pleases,  meet  us  with  terror 
tliere,  where  we  promise  ourselves  ease  and  repose; 
nay,  he  can  make  us  a  terror  to  ourselves,  and,  as 
we  have  often  contracted  guilt,  by  the  rovings  of 
an  unsanctified  fancy,  he  can  likewise,  by  the 
power  of  our  own  imagination,  create  as  much 
grief,  and  so  make  that  our  punishment  which  has 
often  been  our  sin.  In  Job's  dreams,  though  they 
might  jjartly  arise  from  his  distemper,  (in  fevers, 
or  small-pox,  when  the  body  is  all  over  sore,  it  is 
common  for  the  sleep  to  be  unquiet,)  yet  we  ha\'e 
reas'm  to  think  Satan  had  a  hand  in  them;  Satan, 
who  delights  to  terrify  those  whom  it  is  out  of  his 
reach  to -destroy;  but  Job  looked  up  to  God,  who 
permitted  Satan  to  do  this,  (  Thou  scarest  me,)  and 
mistook  Satan's  representations  for  the  terrors  of 
God  setting  themselves  in  array  against  him.  We 
have  reason  to  pray  to  God  that  our  dreams  may 
neither  defile  nor  disquiet  us,  neither  tempt  us  to 
sin,  nor  torment  us  with  fear;  that  He  who  keeps 
Israel,  and  neither  slumbers  nor  sleeps,  may  keep 
us  when  v^e  slumber  and  sleep;  that  the  Devil  may 
not  then  do  us  a  mischief,  either  as  an  insinuating 
serpent,  oi-  as  a  roaring  lion;  and  to  bless  God  if  we 
lie  down  and  our  sleep  is  sweet,  and  we  are  not 
thus  scared. 

2.  He  covets  to  rest  in  his  grave,  that  bed  where 
there  are  no  tossings  to  and  fro,  nor  any  frightful 
dreams,  v.  15,  16.  (1.)  He  was  sick  of  life,  and 
hated  the  thoughts  of  it;  "I  loathe  it,  I  have  had 
enough  of  it,  I  would  not  live  alway:  not  only  not 
live  alway  in  this  condition,  in  pain  and  misery,  but 
not  live  alway  in  the  most  easy  and  prosperous 
condition,  to  be  continually  in  danger  of  being  thus 
reduced:  my  days  are  vanity  at  the  best,  empty 
of  solid  comfort,  exposed  to  real  griefs;  and  I  would 
not  be  for  ever  tied  to  such  uncertainty."  Note, 
A  good  man  would  not  (if  he  might)  live  always  in 
this  world,  no,  not  though  it  smile  upon  him,  be- 
cause it  is  a  world  of  sin  and  temptation,  and  he 
has  a  better  world  in  prospect.  (2.)  He  was  fond 
of  death,  and  pleased  himself  with  the  thoughts  of 
it:  his  soul  (his  judgment,  he  thought,  but  really  it 
was  his  passion)  chose  strangling  and  death  rather; 
any  death  rather  than  such,  a  life  as  this.  Doubt- 
less, this  was  Job's  infirmity;  for  though  a  good 
man  would  not  wish  to  live  alway  in  this  world, 
and  would  choose  strangling  and  death  rather  than 
sin,  as  the  martyrs  did,  yet  he  will  be  content  to 
live  as  long  as  pleases  God,  not  choose  them  rather 
than  life,  because  life  is  our  opportunity  of  glorify- 
ing God,  and  getting  ready  for  heaven. 

17.  What  is  man  that  thou  shouldest 
magnify  him?  and  that  thou  shouldest  set 
thy  heart  upon  him?  18.  And  that  thou 
shouldest  visit  him  every  morning,  and  try 
him  every  moment?  19.  How  long  wilt 
thou  not  depart  from  me,  nor  let  me  alone 
till  I  swallow  down  my  spittle  ?  20.  I  have 
sinned;  what  shall  T  do  unto  thee,  O  thou 
Preserver  of  men  ?  why  hast  thou  set  me  as 
a  mark  against  thee,  so  that  I  am  a  burden 
to  myself?  21.  And  why  dost  thou  not 
pardon  my  transgression,  and  take  away 
mine  iniquity  ?  for  now  shall  I  sleep  in  the 


dust ;  and  thou  shalt  seek  me  in  the  morn- 
ing, but  I  shall  not  be. 

Job  here  reasons  with  God, 

I.  Concerning  his  dealings  with  man  in  general; 
{y.  17,  18.)  What  is  man,  that  thou  shouldest  mag- 
nify him?  This  may  be  looked  upon  either,  1.  As 
a  passionate  reflection  upon  the  proceedings  of  di- 
\ine  justice;  as  if  the  great  God  did  diminish  and 
disparage  himself,  in  contending  with  man.  Great 
men  think  it  below  them  to  take  cognizance  of 
those  who  are  much  their  inferiors,  so  far  as  to 
reprove  and  correct  their  follies  and  indecencies; 
why  then  does  God  magnify  man,  by  visiting  him, 
and  trying  him,  and  making  so  much  ado  about 
him.'  Why  will  he  thus  pour  all  his  foi'ces  upon 
one  that  is  such  an  unequal  match  for  him?  W  by 
will  he  visit  him  with  afflictions,  which,  like  a 
quotidian  ague,  return  as  duly  and  constantly  as  the 
morning-light,  and  try,  every  moment,  what  he 
can  bear.'  We  mistake  God,  and  the  nature  of  his 
providence,  if  we  think  it  any  lessening  to  him,  to 
take  notice  of  the  meanest  of  his  creatures.  ( )r, 
2.  As  a  pious  admiration  of  the  condescensions  cf 
divine  grace,  like  that,  Ps.  viii,  4. — cxliv.  3.  He 
owns  God's  favour  to  man  in  general,  even  then 
when  he  complains  of  his  own  particular  troubles. 
"What  is  man,  miserable  man,  a  poor,  mean, 
weak  creature,  that  Thou,  the  great  and  glorious 
God,  shouldest  deal  with  him  as  thou  dost?  What 
is  man,"  (1.)  "That  thou  shouldest  put  such 
honour  upon  him;  shouldest  magnify  him,  by 
taking  him  into  covenant  and  communim  with 
thyself?"  (2.)  "That  thou  shouldest  concern 
thyself  so  much  about  him,  shouldest  set  thy  heart 
upon  him,  as  dear  to  thee,  and  one  thou  hast  a 
kindness  for?"  (3.)  "That  thou  shouldest  visit 
him  with  thy  compassions  every  morning,  as  we 
daily  visit  a  particular  friend,  or  as  the  physician 
visits  his  patients  every  morning,  to  help  them?" 
(4.)  "That  thou  shouldest  try  him,  shouldest  feel 
his  pulse,  and  observe  his  looks,  every  moment,  as 
in  care  about  him,  and  jealous  over  him?"  That 
such  a  worm  of  the  earth  as  man  is,  should  be  the 
darling  and  favourite  of  Heaven,  is  what  we  have 
reason  for  ever  to  admire. 

II.  Concerning  his  dealings  with  him  in  particu- 
lar.    Observe, 

1.  The  complaint  he  makes  of  his  afflictions, 
which  he  here  aggravates,  and  (as  we  are  all  too 
apt  to  do)  makes  the  worst  of,  in  three  expressions. 
(1.)  That  he  was  the  butt  to  God's  arrows;  "Thou 
hast  set  me  as  a  mark  against  thee"  v.  20.  "My 
case  is  singular,  and  none  is  shot  at  so  as  I  am." 
(2.)  That  he  was  a  burthen  to  himself,  readv  to 
sink  under  the  load  of  his  own  life.  How  much 
delight  soever  we  take  in  ourselves,  God  can,  when 
he  pleases,  make  us  burthens  to  ourselves.  What 
comfort  can  we  take  in  ourseh  es,  if  God  appear 
against  us  as  an  Enemy,  and  we  have  not  comfort 
in  him?  (3.)  That  he  had  no  intermission  of  his 
griefs;  {v.  19.)  "How  long  will  it  be  ere  thou 
cause  thy  rod  to  defiart  from  me,  or  abate  the 
rigour  of  the  correction,  at  least,  for  so  long  as  that 
I  may  swallow  down  my  spittle?''^  It  should  seem, 
Job's  distemper  lay  much  in  his  throat,  and  almost 
choked  him,  so  that  he  could  not  swallow  his 
spittle.  He  complains,  (c//.  xxx.  18.)  that  it 
bound  him  about  like  the  collar  of  his  coat.  "Lord," 
says  he,  "wilt  not  thou  give  me  seme  respite,  some 
breathing  time?"  ch.  ix.  18. 

2.  The  concern  he  is  in  about  his  sins.  The 
best  men  have  sin  to  complain  of,  and  the  better 
they  are,  the  more  they  will  complain  of  it. 

(i.)  He  ingenuously  owns  himself  guilty  before 
God;  I  have  sinned.     God  had  said  of  him,  that  he 


44 


JOB,  VII. 


/j/.9  ear  heavy.  Yet  we  must  not  go  to  school  to 
!•  il)  here,  toleam  how  to  speak  to  God,  for,  it  must 
be  c.uit'essed,  there  is  a  great  mixtui-e  of  passion 
and  corruption  in  what  he  here  says:  but  if  God  be 
not  extreme  to  mark  what  his  people  say  amiss,  let 
us  :dso  make  the  best  of  it.  Job  is  here  begging  of 
God  eitlier  to  ease  him  or  end  him. 

He  here  represents  himself  to  God, 

I.  As  a  dying  man,  surely  and  speedily  dying. 
It  is  good  for  us,  when  we  are  sick,  to  think  and 
speak  of  death,  for  sickness  is  sent  on  purpose  to 
put  us  in  mind  of  it;  and  if  we  be  duly  mindful  of  it 
ourselves,  we  may,  in  faith,  put  God  in  mind  of  it, 
as  Job  does  here;  {v.  7.)  O  remember  that  my  life 
is  ii'ind.  He  recommends  himself  to  God  as  an 
object  of  his  pity  and  compassion,  with  this  con- 
sideration, that  he  was  a  very  weak,  frail,  creature, 
his  abode  in  this  world  short  and  uncertain,  his 
removal  out  of  it  sure  and  speedy,  and  his  return 
to  it  again  impossible,  and  never  to  be  expected; 
that  his  life  was  wind,  as  the  lives  of  all  men  are, 
noisy  perhaps,  and  blustering,  like  the  wind,  but 
vain  and  empty,  soon  gone,  and,  when  gone,  past 
recall.  God  had  compassion  on  Israel,  remember- 
ing that  they  were  but  Jlesh,  a  wind  that  fiasseth 
away,  and  cometh  not  again,  Ps.  Ixxviii.  38,  39. 
Observe, 

1.  The  pious  reflections  Job  makes  upon  his  own 
life  and  death.  Such  plain  truths  as  these  con- 
cerning the  shortness  and  vanity  of  life,  the  un- 
avoidableness  and  irrecoverableness  of  death,  then 
do  us  good,  when  we  think  and  speak  of  them  witli 
application  to  ourselves.     Let  us  consider,  then, 

(1.)  That  we  must  shortly  take  our  leave  of  all 
the  tilings  that  are  seen,  that  are  temporal.  The 
eye  of  the  body  must  be  closed,  and  shall  no  more 
see  good,  the  good  which  most  men  set  their  hearts 
upon,  for  their  cry  is.  Who  will  make  us  to  see 
good?  Ps.  iv.  6.  If  we  be  such  fools  as  to  place 
our  happiness  in  visible  good  things,  what  will  be- 
come of  us  when  they  shall  be  for  ever  hid  from 
our  eyes,  and  we  shall  no  more  see  good?  Let  us, 
therefore,  live  by  that  faith  which  is  the  substance 
and  evidence  of  things  not  seen. 

(2.)  That  we  must  then  remove  to  an  invisible 
world:  the  eye  of  hi/n  that  hath  here  seen  me,  shall 
see  me  no  more  there.  It  is  'a/oc — ari  unseen  state, 
V.  8.  Death  removes  our  lovers  and  friends  into 
darkness,  (Ps.  Ixxxviii.  18.)  and  will  shortly  re- 
move us  out  of  their  sight;  when  we  go  hence  we 
shall  be  seen  no  more,  (Ps.  xxxix.  13.)  but  go  to 
converse  with  the  things  that  are  not  seen,  that  are 
eternal. 

(3.)  That  God  can  easily,  and  in  a  moment,  put 
an  end  to  our  lives,  and  send  us  to  another  world; 
(7*.  8.)  ^'Thine  eyes  are  upon  me,  and  I  am  not: 
thou  canst  look  me  into  eternity,  frown  me  into  the 
grave,  when  thou  pleasest." 

Shoiild'st  thou,  rtispleas'd,  give  me  a  frowning  look, 
I  sink,  I  die,  ae  if  with  liglitning  struck. 

Sir  R.  Blackmorb. 

He  takes  away  our  breath,  and  we  die;  nay,  he 
but  looks  on  the  earth,  and  it  trembles,  Ps.  civ. 
29,  32. 

(4.)  That  when  we  are  once  removed  to  another 
world,  we  must  never  return  to  this.  There  is 
constant  passing  from  this  world  to  the  other,  but 
Vestigia  nulla  retrorsum — There  is  no  refiassing. 
"Therefore,  Lord,  show  me  kindness  while  I  am 
here,  for  I  shall  return  no  more  to  receive  kindness 
in  this  world."  Or,  "Therefore,  Lord,  kindly 
-ase  me  bv  death,  for  that  will  be  a  perpetual  ease, 
;  shall  return  no  more  to  the  calamities  of  this  life. " 
i\'hen  we  are  dead,  we  are  gone,  to  return  no 
more,  [1.]  From  our  house  under  ground,  t.  9. 
He  that  goeth  down  to  the  grave,  shall  come  ufi  no 


more,  until  the  general  resurrection,  shall  come  up 
no  more  to  his  place  in  this  world.  Dying  is  work 
that  is  to  be  done  but  once,  and  ther^ore  it  had 
need  be  well  done:  an  error  there  is  pSRt  retrieve. 
This  is  illustrated  by  the  blotting  out  and  scattering 
of  a  cloud.  It  is  consumed,  and  vanisheth  awav,  is 
resolved  into  air,  and  ne\er  knits  again:  other 
clouds  arise,  but  the  same  cloud  never  returns:  so 
a  new  generation  of  the  children  of  men  is  raised 
up,  but  the  former  generation  is  quite  consuuied, 
and  vanishes  away.  When  we  see  a  cloud  which 
looks  great,  as  if  it  would  eclipse  the  sun  and  drown 
the  earth,  of  a  sudden  dispersed  and  disappei.ring, 
let  us  say,  "Just  such  a  thing  is  the  life  of  man;  it 
is  a  vapour  that  appears  for  a  little  while,  and  then 
vanishes  away."  [2.]  To  return  no  more  to  our 
house  above  ground,  v.  10.  He  shall  return  no 
more  to  his  house,  to  the  possession  and  enjoyment 
of  it,  to  the  business  and  delights  of  it:  others  will 
take  possession,  and  keep  it  till  they  also  resign  to 
another  generation.  The  rich  man  in  hell  desired 
Lazarus  might  be  sent  to  his  house,  knowing  it  was 
to  no  purpose  to  ask  that  he  might  have  leave  to  go 
himself.  Glorified  saints  shall  return  no  more  to 
the  cares,  and  burthens,  and  sorrows,  of  their 
house;  nor  damned  sinners  to  the  gaieties  and 
pleasures  of  their  house.  Their  place  shall  no 
more  know  them,  no  more  own  them,  have  no 
more  acquaintance  with  them,  nor  be  any  more 
under  their  influence.  It  concerns  us  to  secure  a 
better  place  when  we  die,  for  this  will  no  more 
own  us. 

2.  The  passionate  inference  he  draws  from  it. 
From  these  premises  he  might  have  drawn  a  bef.ei 
conclusion  than  this,  {y.  11.)  Therefore  J  will  not 
refrain  my  mouth,  I  will  speak,  t  will  complain. 
Holy  David,  when  he  had  been  meditating  on  the 
frailty  of  human  life,  made  a  contrary  use  of  it; 
(Ps.  xxxix.  9.)  I  was  dumb,  and  opened  7iot  my 
mouth:  but  Job,  finding  himself  near  expiring, 
hastens  as  much  to  make  his  complaint,  as  if  lie 
had  been  to  make  his  last  will  and  testament,  rr  as 
if  he  could  not  die  in  peace  until  he  had  given  vent 
to  his  passion.  When  we  have  but  a  few  breaths 
to  draw,  we  should  spend  them  in  the  holy,  gra- 
cious, breathings  of  faith  and  prayer,  not  in  the 
noisome,  noxious,  breathings  of  sin  and  corruptirn. 
Better  die  praying  and  praising,  than  die  complain- 
ing and  quarrelling. 

II.  As  a  distempered  man,  sorely  and  grievously 
distempered,  both  in  body  and  mind.  In  this  ]iart 
of  his  representation,  he  is  very  peevish,  as  if  God 
dealt  hardly  with  him,  and  laid  upon  him  more 
than  was  meet,  j^m  I  a  sea,  or  a  whale?  v.  12. 
"A  raging  sea,  that  must  be  kept  within  bruiids, 
to  check  its  proud  waves,  or  an  unruly  wlialo.  that 
must  be  restrained  by  force  from  devouring  all  the 
fishes  of  the  sea?  Am  I  so  strong,  that  there  tieeds 
so  much  ado  to  hold  me?  So  boisterous,  that  to 
less  than  all  these  mightv  bonds  of  afRiction  will 
serve  to  tame  me,  and  keep  me  within  rompiiss?" 
We  are  very  apt,  when  we  are  m  affliction,  to 
complain  of  God  and  his  providence,  :'s  if  he  laid 
more  restraint  upon  us  than  there  is  occas'rn  f  r; 
whereas  we  arc  never  in  heaviness  but  when  there 
is  need,  or  beyond  the  just  measure. 

1.  He  comjjlains  that  he  could  wt  rest  in  his 
bed,  v.  13,  14.  There  we  promise  (ursohes  srme 
repose,  when  we  are  fatigued  with  labour,  pain,  <'v 
travel;  My  bed  shall  comfort  me,  and  mv  couch 
shall  ease  my  complaint;  sleep  will,  for  a  tiuie,  t:i>  e 
me  some  relief;  it  does  so;  it  is  appointed  for  that 
end;  many  a  time  it  has  cased  us,  and  we  ha^e 
awaked  refreshed,  and  with  new  vigour.  Wbeii 
it  is  so,  we  have  great  reason  to  be  thankful;  but  it 
was  not  so  with  poor  Job;  his  bed,  instead  of  com 
forting  him,  terrified  him;  and  his  couch,  mstead 


an  unsiiiCJ"" 

otten !"'"'" 
mijli'i 

i^jjclito'dtsr:;. 
permitteii^^' 

liave  reason  to?' 
neitlier  defile  r 
siii,iiortoni»t-'- 

IkI.^'"''*'''^" 
uswhenweslair'- 


strpentfOrasr 
lie  down  ffli  f  ■ 


2,Heco«tJt(iiat«' 
tliere  are  no  taiBUr  ■ 
(ire.«,T.lJ,li  fi;K' 
Wtlietlioi^iilt* 

not  live  alnr  ii  ^  ■■  mi  h 
coition,  to  be  caSMlfBtepr^ 
reduced:  mimm  tm  t  ti  \ 

notbeforerertiedkHkaMM 

tliisworld,i»,Mihiijki2fi 
aseitisiiaidrfaitmH 
has  a  better  mid  I  pn^  '•   • 

i)!deitti,andtikMdW 
tt;  bis  soul  (iujy^a;^^  ^ 
wi8bispasjot',^B^]^ 
any  deatli  rather  ta^^* 
less,  this  W25  j'/'i  :*- 
man  wniilfi  no;  »^.  . 
»»d  would  chctwar.^ 
JW  tbe  raain-n  (i^\ 


''■  ^^'liat  if  nan  fc  4^ 


^ 


«ini(juitj.|j|^ 


'•*u 


JOB,  Vlll. 


1.  He  is  right  in  general,  that  God  doth  not  per- 
vert judgment,  nor  ever  go  contrary  to  any  settled 
I'lrle  oi  justice,  v.  3.  Far  be  it  from  him  that  he 
should,  and  from  us  that  we  should  suspect  him. 
He  never  oppresses  the  innocent,  nor  lays  more 
load  on  the  guilty  than  they  deser\e.  He  is  God, 
the  Judge;  and  shall  not  the  Judge  of  all  the  earth 
do  i-ight?  Gen.  xviii.  25.  If  there  should  be  unrigh- 
teousness with  God,  hoiv  s/tall  he  judge  the  world? 
Run.  iii.  5,  6.  He  is  Almighty,  Shaddai,  AU-sut- 
tii.:ieut.  Men  pervert  justice,  sometimes,  for  fear 
if  the  power  of  others;  but  God  is  Almighty,  and 
samds  in  awe  of  none.  Men  ha\  e  respect  to  the 
f.iv(,ur  of  others;  but  God  is  all-sufficient,  and  can- 
not be  benefited  by  the  favour  of  any.  It  is  man's 
weakness  and  impotency,  that  he  often  is  unjust;  it 
is  God's  omnipotence,  that  he  cannot  be  so. 

2  Yet  he  is  not  fair  and  candid  in  the  application : 
he  takes  it  for  granted  that  Job's  children  (the  death 
of  wiiom  was  one  of  the  greatest  of  his  afflictions) 
had  been  guilty  of  some  notorious  wickedness,  and 
tliat  the  unhappy  circumstances  of  their  death  were 
sufficient  evidence  that  they  were  sinners  above  all 
the  children  of  the  east,  v.  4.  Job  readily  owned 
that  God  did  not  pervei't  judgment;  and  yet  it  did 
not  therefore  follow  either  that  his  children  were 
c:ist-aways,  or  that  they  died  for  some  great  trans- 
gression. It  is  true  that  we  and  our  children  have 
sinned  against  God,  and  we  ought  to  justify  him  in 
all  he  brings  upon  us  and  ours;  but  extraordinary 
afflictions  are  not  always  the  punishment  of  extra- 
ordinary sins,  but  sometimes  the  trial  of  extraordi- 
nary graces;  and,  in  our  judgment  of  another's  case, 
(unless  the  contrary  appears,)  we  ought  to  take  the 
more  favourable  side,  as  our  Saviour  directs,  Luke 
xiii.  2,  4.     Here  Bildad  missed  it. 

III.  He  puts  Job  in  hope,  that,  if  he  were  indeed 
upright,  as  he  said  he  was,  he  should  yet  see  a  good 
issue  of  his  present  troubles;  "Although  thy  chil- 
dren have  sinned  against  him,  and  are  cast  away  in 
their  transgression,  they  have  died  in  their  own  sin, 
yet,  if  thou  be  pure  and  upright  thyself,  and,  as  an 
evidence  of  that,  wilt  now  seek  unto  God,  and  sub- 
mit to  him,  all  shall  be  well  yet,"  v.  5 .  .7.  This 
may  be  taken  two  ways:  either, 

1.  As  designed  to  pro\  e  Job  a  hypocrite,  and  a 
wicked  man,  though  not  by  the  greatness,  yet  by 
the  continuance,  of  his  afflictions.  "When  thou 
wast  impoverished,  and  thy  children  killed,  if  thou 
hadst  been  pure  and  upright,  and  appi'oved  thyself 
so  in  the  trial,  God  would,  before  now,  have  re- 
turned in  mercy  to  thee,  and  comforted  thee  ac- 
cording to  the  time  of  thine  affliction;  but  because 
he  does  not  so,  we  have  reason  to  conclude  thou  art 
not  so  pure  and  upright  as  thou  pretendest  to  be. 
If  thou  hadst  conducted  thyself  well  under  the  for- 
mer affliction,  thou  hadst  not  been  struck  with  the 
latter."  Herein  Bildad  was  not  in  the  right;  for  a 
good  man  may  be  afflicted  for  his  ti'ial,  not  only 
ve'-y  sorely,  but  \  ery  long,  and  yet,  if  for  life,  it  is, 
in  comparison  with  eternity,  but  for  a  moment. 
But,  since  Bildad  put  it  to  this  issue,  God  was  pleas- 
ed to  join  issue  with  him,  and  proved  his  ser\ant 
Job  an  honest  man,  by  Bildad's  own  argument;  for, 
soon  after,  he  blessed  his  latter  end  more  than  his 
beginning.     Or, 

2.  As  designed  to  direct  and  encourage  Job,  that 
he  might  not  thus  run  himself  into  despair,  and  give 
up  all  for  gone;  yet  there  might  be  hope,  if  he  would 
take  the  right  course.  I  am  apt  to  think  Bildad 
here  intended  to  condemn  Job,  yet  would  be  thought 
to  counsel  and  comfort  him.  (1.)  He  gives  him 
good  counsel,  vet  perhaps  not  expecting  lie  would 
take  it;  the  same  that  Eliphazhad  gi\  en  him,  (ch.  v. 
8.)  to  seek  unto  God,  and  that  betimes,  that  is, 
speedily  and  seriouslv,  and  not  to  i)e  dilatory  and 
trifling  in  his  return  and  repentance.     He  advises 


him  not  to  compU.in,  but  to  petition,  and  to  make 
his  supplication  to  the  Almighty  with  liumility  and 
faith;  and  to  see  that  there  was  (what  he  feared  had 
hitherto  been  wanting)  sincerity  in  his  heart,  "Thou 
must  be  pure  and  upright;"  and  honestv  in  his 
house,  "  That  must  be  the  habitation  of  thy  righ- 
teousness, and  not  filled  with  ill-gotten  goods;  else 
God  will  not  hear  thy  prayers,"  Ps.  Ixvi.  18.  It  is 
only  the  prayer  of  the  upright  that  is  the  accepta- 
ble and  prevailing  prayer,  Prov.  xv.  8.  (2.)  He 
gives  him  good  hopes  that  he  should  yet  again  see 
good  days,  secretly  suspecting,  howe\  er,  that  he 
was  not  qualified  to  see  them.  He  assures  him, 
That  if  he  would  be  early  in  seeking  God,  God 
would  awake  for  his  relief,  would  I'emember  him, 
and  return  to  him,  thovigh  now  he  secnicd  to  forget 
him  and  forsake  him;'  That  if  his  habitation  were 
righteous  it  should  be  prosperous;  for  honesty  is  the 
best  policy,  and  inward  piety  a  sure  friend  to  out- 
ward prosperity.  When  we  return  to  God  in  a 
way  of  duty,  we  have  reason  to  hope  that  he  will 
return  to  us  in  a  way  of  mercy.  Let  net  Job  object 
that  he  had  so  little  left  to  begin  the  world  with 
again,  that  it  was  impossible  he  should  ever  pros- 
per as  he  had  done;  no,  "Though  thy  beginning 
should  be  ever  so  small,  a  little  meal  in  the  Ijarrel, 
and  a  little  oil  in  the  cruse,  God's  blessing  shall 
multiply  that  to  a  great  increase."  This  is  God's 
way  of  enriching  the  souls  of  his  people  with  graces 
and  comforts,  not  per  saltum — as  by  a  bomid,  but 
per  gradum — step  by  step.  The  beginning  is 
small,  but  the  progress  is  to  perfection.  Dawning 
light  grows  to  noon-day;  a  grain  cf  mustard-seed  to 
a  great  ti-ee.  Let  us  not'therefore  despise  the  day 
of  small  things,  but  hope  for  the  day  of  great  things. 
8.  For  inquire,  I  pray  thee,  of"  the  former 
age,  and  prepare  thyself  to  the  search  of  their 
fathers  ;  9.  (For  we  arebut  q/"yesteiday,  and 
know  nothing,  because  our  days  upon  earth 
wre  a  shadow:)  10.  Shall  not  they  teach 
thee,  and  tell  thee,  and  utter  words  out  of 
their  heart  ?  11.  Can  the  rush  grow  up 
without  mire?  can  the  flag  grow  without 
water?  12.  Whilst  it  is  yet  in  his  green- 
ness, and  not  cut  down,  it  withereth  before 
any  other  herb.  13.  So  are  the  paths  of 
all  that  forget  God;  and  the  hypocrite's 
hope  shall  perish  :  1 4.  Whose  hope  shall 
be  cut  off,  and  whose  trust  shall  he  a  spi- 
der's web.  15.  He  shall  le^n  upon  his 
house,  but  it  shall  not  stand :  he  shall  hold 
it  fast,  but  it  shall  not  endure.  16.  He  is 
green  before  the  sun,  and  his- branch  shoot- 
eth  forth  in  his  garden.  17.  Flis  roots  are 
wrapped  about  the  heap,  and  seeth  the  place 
of  stones.  1 8.  If  he  destroy  him  from  his 
place,  then  it  shall  deny  him,  saj/ing,  1  have 
not  seen  thee.  1 9.  Behold,  this  is  the  joy  of 
his  way,  and  out  of  the  earth  shall  others  grow. 
Bildad  here  discourses  well  of  the  sad  catastro- 
phe of  hypocrites  and  evil-doers,  and  the  fatal  pe- 
riod of  all  their  hopes  and  joys.  He  will  not  be  so 
bold  as  to  say,  with  Eliphaz,  that  none  that  were 
righteous  were  ever  cut  off  thus;  {ch.  iv.  7.)  yet  he 
takes  it  for  granted  that  God,  in  the  coui-se  of  his 
providence,  does  ordinarily  bring  wicked  men,  who 
seemed  pious,  and  were  prosperous,  to  shame  and 
ruin  in  this  world;  and  that,  by  making  their  pros- 
perity short,  he  discovers  their  piety  to  be  counter- 
feit. '  Whether  this  will  certainly  prove  that  all 


48 


JOB,  VIII. 


who  are  thus  i-uined  must  be  concluded  to  have 
been  hypocrites,  he  will  m.t  say,  but  ratuer  suspects 
.  nd  thinks  the  applicution  is  easy. 

I.  He  pro\  es  tli.s  truth,  ot  the  certain  destruction 
of  all  the  hopes  and  joys  oi  hypocrites,  by  an  appeal 
to  antiquity,  and  the  concurring  sentiment  and  ob- 
servation of  all  wise  and  goud  men.  It  is  an  un- 
doubted truth,  if  we  take  in  the  other  world,  that,  if 
not  in  this  life,  yet  in  the  life  to  come,  hypocrites  will 
be  deprived  of  all  their  trusts  and  uU  their  triumphs. 
Whether  Bildad  so  meant  or  no,  we  must  so  take  it. 

Let  us  observe  the  method  of  his  proof,  v.  8-  '10. 

1.  He  insists  not  on  his  own  judgment,  and  that 
of  his  companions;  iTe  are  but  of  yesterday,  and 
know  not/ling-,  v.  9.  He  perceived  that  Job  had  no 
opinion  of  their  abilities,  but  tliought  they  knew 
httle;  '<  We  will  own,"  says  Bildad,  "thatweknow 
nothing,  are  as  ready  to  confess  our  ignorance  as 
thou  art  to  condemn  it;  for  we  are  but  as  yesterday 
in  comparison,  and  our  days  upon  earth  are  short 
and  transient,  and  hastening  away  as  a  shadow. 
And  therefore,"  (1.)  "We  are  not  so  near  the 
fountain-head  of  divine  revelation"  (which  then,  for 
aught  that  appears,  was  conveyed  by  tradition) 
"  as  the  former  age  was;  and  therefore  we  must 
inquire  what  they  said,  and  recount  what  we  have 
been  told  of  their  sentiments. "  Blessed  be  God, 
now  that  we  have  the  word  of  God  in  writing,  and 
are  directed  to  search  that,  we  need  not  inquire  of 
the  former  age,  nor  prepare  ourselves  to  the  search 
of  their  fathers;  for,  though  we  ourselves  are  but  of 
yesterday,  the  word  of  God  in  the  scripture  is  as 
high  us  as  them;  (Rom.  x.  8.)  and  it  is  the  most 
sure  word  ui  prophecy,  to  which  we  must  take 
heed.  If  we  study  and  keep  God's  precepts,  we 
may  by  them  understand  more  than  the  ancients, 
Ps.  cx'ix.  99,  100.  (2.)  "We  do  not  live  so  long  as 
they  of  the  former  age  did,  to  make  observations 
upon  the  methods  of  Divine  Providence,  and  there- 
fore cannot  be  such  competent  judges  as  they,  in  a 
cause  of  this  nature."  Note,  The  shortness  of  our 
lives  is  a  great  hindrance  to  the  improvement  of 
our  knowledge;  and  so  is  the  frailty  and  weakness 
of  our  bodies.  Fita  brevis,  ars  longa — Life  is  short, 
the  progress  of  art  boundless. 

2.  He  refers  himself  to  the  testimony  of  the  an- 
cients, and  to  the  knowledge  which  Job  himself  had 
of  their  sentiments.  "Do  thou  inquire  of  the  for- 
mer age,  and  let  them  tell  thee,  not  only  their  own 
judgment  in  this  matter,  but  the  judgment  also  of 
their  fathers;  {v.  8. )  they  nvill  teach  thee,  and  in- 
form thee,  (y.  10.)  that,'  all  along,  in  their  time, 
the  judgments  of  God  followed  wicked  men.  This 
they  will  utter  of  their  hearts,  that  is,  as  that  which 
they  firmly  believe  themselves,  which  they  are 
greatly  affected  with,  and  desirous  to  acquaint  and 
affect  others  with."  Note,  (1.)  For  the  right  un- 
derstanding of  Div'ne  Providence,  and  the  unfolding 
of  the  difficulties  of  it,  it  will  be  of  use  to  compare 
the  observations  and  experiences  of  former  ages 
with  the  events  of  our  own  day;  and,  in  order  there- 
unto, to  consult  history,  especially  the  sacred  histo- 
ry, which  is  the  most  ancient,  infallibly  true,  and 
written  designedly  for  our  learning.  (2.)  They 
that  would  fetch  knowledge  from  the  former  ages, 
must  search  diligently,  prepare  for  the  search,  and 
take  pains  in  the  search.  (3.)  Those  words  are 
most  likely  to  reach  to  the  hearts  of  the  learners, 
that  come  'from  the  hearts  of  the  teachers.  They 
shall  teach  thee  best,  that  utter  words  out  of  their 
heart,  that  speak  by  experience,  and  not  by  rote, 
of  spiritual  and  divine  things. 

The  learned  Bishop  Patrick  suggests,  that  Bil- 
dad, being  a  Shuhite,  descended  from  Shuah,  one 
of  Abraham's  sons  by  Keturah,  Gen.  xxv.  2.  In 
this  appeal  which  he  makes  to  history,  he  has  a 
J- articular  respect  to  the  rewards  which  the  bless- 


ings of  God  secured  to  the  posterity  of  faithful 
Abraham,  who  hitherto,  and  long  after,  continued 
in  his  religion;  he  refers  also  to  the  judicial  extir- 
pation of  those  eastern  people,  neighbi.urs  to  Job,  (in 
whose  country  they  were  settled,)  for  their  wick- 
edness: whence  he  infers,  that  it  is  God's  usual  way 
to  prosper  the  just,  and  mot  out  the  w  icked,  though 
for  a  while  they  may  flourish. 

II.  He  illustrates  this  truth  by  some  similitudes. 
1.  The  hopes  and  joys  of  the  hypocrites  ;;re  here 
compared  to  a  rush  or  flag,  t.  11..  13.  (1.)  It 
grows  up  out  of  the  mire  and  water.  The  hypo- 
crite cannot  gain  his  liope  without  some  fa'sc  rotten 
ground  or  other,  out  of  which  to  raise  it,  and  with 
which  to  support  it  and  keep  it  alive,  any  more 
than  the  rush  can  grow  without  mire.  He  gn  und» 
it  on  his  worldly  pn-sperity,  the  plausible  profession 
he  makes  of  religion,  the  good  opinion  of  his  neigh- 
bours, and  his  own  good  conceit  of  himself,  which 
are  no  solid  foundation  on  which  to  build  his  confi- 
dence. It  is  all  but  mire  and  water;  -and  the  hope 
that  grows  out  of  it,  is  but  rush  and  flag.  (2.)  It 
may  look  green  and  gay  for  a  while,  (the  rush  out- 
grows the  grass,)  but  it  is  light,  and  hollow,  and 
empty,  and  good  for  nothing.  It  is  green  for  show, 
but  of  no  use.  (3. )  It  withers  presently,  before  any 
other  herb,  v.  12.  Even  while  it  is  in  its  green- 
ness, it  is  dried  away,  and  gone  in  a  little  time. 
Note,  The  best  state  of  hypocrites  and  evil-doers 
borders  upon,  withering;  even  when  it  is  green,  it 
is  going.  The  grass  is  cut  down,  and  withers;  (Ps. 
xc.  6. )  but  the  rush  is  not  cut  down,  and  yet  withers, 
withers  afore  it  grows  up.;  (Ps.  cxxix.  6.)  as  it  hps 
no  use,  so  it  has  no  continuance.  So  are  the  paths 
of  all  that  forget  God;  {y.  13.)  they  take  the  same 
way  that  the  rush  does,  for  the  hypocrite's  hopes 
shall  perish.  Note,  [1.]  Forgetfulness  of  God  is 
at  the  bottom  of  men  s  hypocrisy,  and  of  the  vain 
hopes  with  which  they  natter  and  deceive  them- 
selves in  their  hypocrisy.  Men  would  not  be  hypo- 
crites, if  they  did  not  forget  that  the  God  with 
whom  they  have  to  do  searches  the  heart,  and  re- 
quires truth  there;  that  he  is  a  Spirit,  and  has  his 
eye  on  our  spirits.  Hypocrites  could  ha\  e  no  hope, 
if  they  did  not  forget  that  God  is  righteous,  and  will 
not  be  mocked  with  the  torn  and  the  lame.  [2.] 
The  hope  of  hypocrites  is  a  great  cheat  upon  them- 
selves, and  though  it  may  flourish  a  while,  it  will 
certainly  perish  at  last,  and  they  with  it. 

2.  They  are  here  compared  to  a  spider's  web,  or 
a  spider's  house,  as  it  is  in  the  margin ;  a  cob-web, 
V.  14,15.  The  hope  of  the  hypocrite,  (1.)  Is  woven 
out  of  his  own  bowels;  it  is  the  creature  of  his  own 
fancy,  and  arises  merely  from  a  conceit  of  his  own 
merit  and  sufficiency.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  dif- 
ference between  the  work  of  the  bee  and  that  of  the 
spider;  a  diligent  Christian,  like  the  laborious  bee, 
fetches  in  all  his  comfort  from  the  heavenly  dews 
of  God's  word;  but  the  hypocrite,  like  the  subtle 
spider,  weaves  his  out  of  a  false  hypothesis  of  his 
own,  concerning  God,  as  if  he  were,  altogether  such 
a  one  as  himself.  (2.)  He  is  very  fond  of  it,  as  the 
spider  of  her  web;  pleases  himself  with  it,  wraps 
himself  in  it,  calls  it  his  house,  leans  upoyi  it,  and 
holds  it  fast.  It  is  said  of  the  spider,  that  she  fo/cei- 
hold  with  her  hands,  and  is  in  ki?ig's  pa  faces,  Prov 
XXX.  28.  So  does  a  carnal  worldling  hug  liimself 
in  the  fulness  and  firmness  of  his  outward  prosperi- 
ty; he  prides  himself  in  that  house  as  his  palace, 
and  fortifies  himself  in  it  as  his  castle,  and  makes  use 
of  it  as  the  spider  of  her  web,  to  insnave  those  he 
has  a  mind  to  prey  upon.  So  does  a  formal  profes- 
sor; he  flatters  himself  in  his  own  eyes,  doubts  not 
of  his  salvation,  is  secure  of  heavenrand  cheats  th* 
world  with  his  vain  confidences.  (3.)  It  will  easily 
and  certainly  be  swept  away,  as  the  cob-web  with 
the  besom,  when  God  shall  come  to  purge  his  house. 


JOB,  IX. 


49 


The  prosperity  of  worldly  people  will  fail  them, 
■when  they  expect  to  find  safety  and  happiness  in  it. 
1'hey  seek,  to  hold  fast  their  estates,  but  God  is 
plucking  them  out  of  their  hands;  and  whose  shall 
.  those  thi.igs  be  which  they  have  provided?  or  what 
the  better  will  they  be  for  them?  The  confidences 
of  hypocrites  will  fail  them;  I  tell  you,  1  know  you 
not.  Tiie  house  built  on  the  sand  will  fall  in  the 
St )  n»,  wlicn  the  builder  most  needs  it,  and  had 
pr.jiii;.scd  himself  the  benefit  of  it.  When  a  wicked 
man  dien,  Iha  exfiectation  fierishes.  The  ground  of 
his  n  pes  will  prove  false;  he  will  be  disappointed 
of  tiio  tning  he  hoped  for,  and  his  foolish  hope,  with, 
which  he  buoyed  himself  up,  will  be  turned  into 
endless  despair;  and  thus  his  hope  will  be  cut  off, 
h.s  web,  that  refuge  of  lies,  swept  away,  and  he 
crushed  in  it. 

3.  They  are  here  compared  to  a  flourishing  and 
well-rooted  tree,  which,  though  it  do  not  wither  of 
itself,  yet  will  easily  be  cut  down,  and  its  place 
know  it  no  more.  The  secure  and  prospeious  sin- 
ner may  think  himself  wronged  when  he  is  com- 
pared to  a  rush  and  a  flag,  he  thinks  he  has  a  better 
root;  "We  will  allow  him  his  conceit,"  (says  Bil- 
dad,)  "and  give  him  all  the  advantage  he  can  de- 
sire, and  yet  bring  him  in  suddenly  cut  off."  He  is 
here  represented,  as  Nebuchadnezzar  was  in  his 
own  dream,  (Dan.  iv.  10. )  by  a  great  tree. 

(1.)  See  this  tree  fair  and  flourishing,  {y.  16.)  like 
a.  green  bay-tree,  (Ps.  xxxvii.  35.)  green  before  the 
sun,  that  keeps  its  greenness  in  defiance  of  the 
scorching  sun-beams,  and  his  branch  shoots  forth 
under  the  protection  of  his  garden-wall,  and  with 
the  benefit  of  his  garden-soil:  see  it  fixed,  and  taking 
deep  root,  never  likely  to  be  overthrown  by  stormy 
winds,  for  his  roots  are  interwoven  with  the  stones; 
(f.  17.)  it  grows  infirm  ground,  not  as  the  rush,  in 
mire  and  water.  Thus  does  a  wicked  man,  when 
he  prospers  in  the  world,  think  himself  secure;  his 
wealth  is  a  high  wall  in  his  own  conceit. 

(2. )  See  this  tree  felled  and  forgotten  notwith- 
standing; destroyed  from  his  place,  {v.  18. )  and  so 
entirely  extirpated,  that  there  shall  remain  no  sign 
or  token  where  it  grew;  the  very  place  shall  say, 
/  have  not  seen  thee;  and  the  standers  by  shall  say 
the  same,  1  sought  him,  but  he  could  not  be  found, 
Ps.  xxxvii.  36.  He  made  a  great  show  and  a  great 
noise  for  a  time,  but  he  is  gone  of  a  sudden,  and 
neither  root  nor  branch  left  him,  Mai.  i\ .  1.  This 
is  the  joy,  that  is,  this  is  the  end  and  conclusion,  of 
the  wicked  mail's  way,  {v.  19.)  this  is  that  which  all 
his  joy  comes  to — 7'he  way  of  the  ungodly  shall 
fxensh,  Ps.  i.  6.  His  hope,  he  thought,  would,  in 
the  issue,  be  turned  into  joy,  but  this  is  the  issue, 
this  is  the  joy,  The  harvest  shall  be  a  heap,  in  the 
day  of  grief  and  of  desperate  sorrow,  Isa.  xvii.  11, 
This  iS  the  best  ot  it;  and  what  then  is  the  worst  of 
it?  But  shall  he  not  leave  a  family  behind  him  to 
enjoy  what  he  has?  No,  out  of  the  earth,  (not  out  of 
his  roots,)  shall  others  grow,  that  are  nothing  akin 
to  him,  and  shall  fill  up  his  place,  and  rule  over 
that  for  which  he  laboured.  Others,  namely,  of 
the  same  spirit  and  disposition,  shall  grow  up  in  his 
place,  and  be  as  secure  as  ever  he  was,  not  warned 
by  his  fail.  The  way  of  wordlings  is  their  folly, 
and  yet  there  is  a  race  of  them  that  approve  their 
sayings,  Ps.  xlix.  13. 

20.  Behold,  God  will  not  cast  away  a 
perfect  7?m7i,  neither  will  he  help  the  evil- 
doers ;  21.  Till  he  fill  thy  mouth  with  laugh- 
ing, and  thy  lips  with  rejoicing.  22.  They 
that  hate  thee  shall  be  clothed  with  shame; 
and  the  dwelling-place  of  the  wicked  shall 
come  to  nought. 

Vol.  III.— G 


Bildad  here,  in  the  close  of  his  discourse,  sums 
up  what  he  had  to  say,  in  a  few  words,  setting  be- 
fore Job  life  and  death,  the  blessing  and  the  curse; 
assuring  him,  that  as  he  was,  so  he  should  fare, 
and  therefore  they  might  conclude,  that  as  he  fared, 
so  he  was. 

1.  On  the  other  hand,  if  he  were  a  perfect  upright 
man,  God  would  not  cast  him  away,  v.  20.  Though 
now  he  seemed  forsaken  of  God,  he  would  yet  re- 
turn to  him,  and,  bv  degrees,  would  turri  his  mourn- 
ing into  dancing,  (Ps.  XXX.  11.)  and  comforts  should 
flow  in  upon  him  so  plentifully,  that  his  mouth 
should  he  filled  with  laughing,  v.  21.  So  affecting 
should  the  happy  change  be,  Ps.  cxxvi.  2.  They 
that  loved  him,  would  rejoice  with  him;  but  they 
that  hated  him,  and  had  triumphed  in  his  fall, 
would  be  ashamed  of  their  insolence,  when  they 
see  him  restored  to  his  former  prosperity.  God 
ivill  not  cast  away  c«  ujjri^/ij  mo/i ;  he  may  be  cast 
down  for  a  time,  but  he  shall  not  be  cast  away  for 
ever;  it  is  true,  that,  if  not  in  this  world,  yet  in 
another,  the  mouth  of  the  righteous  shall  be  filled 
with  rejoicing.  Though  their  sun  should  sit  under 
a  cloud,  yet  it  shall  rise  again  clear,  ne\  er  more  to 
be  clouded;  though  they  go  mourning  to  the  grave, 
that  shall  not  hinder  their  entrance  into  the  joy  of 
their  Lord.  It  is  true,  that  the  enemies  of 'the 
saints  will  be  clothed  with  shame,  when  they  see 
them  crowned  with  honour.  But  it  does  not  theie 
tore  follow,  that,  if  Job  were  not  perfectly  restored 
to  his  former  prosperity,  he  forfeited  the  character 
of  a  perfect  man. 

2.  On  the  other  hand,  if  he  were  a  wicked  man, 
and  an  evil  doer,  God  would  not  help  him,  but 
leave  him  to  perish  in  his  present  distresses;  {v. 
20.)  and  his  dwelling-place  should  come  to  naught, 
22.  And  here,  also,  it  is  true  that  God  will  not  help 
the  evil-doers;  thev  throw  themselves  cut  of  his 
protection,  and  forfeit  his  favour;  he  will  jiot  take 
the  ungodly  by  the  hand,  so  it  is  in  the  margin,  will 
not  have  fellowship  and  communion  with  them; 
for  what  communion  between  light  and  darkness? 
He  will  not  lend  them  his  hand  to  pull  them  out  of 
the  miseries,  the  eternal  miseries,  into  which  they 
have  plunged  themselves;  they  will  then  stretch 
out  their  hand  to  him  for  help,  but  it  is  too  late,  he 
will  not  take  them  by  the  hand:  Between  us  and 
you  there  is  a  great  gulf  fixed.  It  is  true,  that  the 
dwelling-filace  of  the  wicked,  sooner  or  later,  will 
come  to  naught.  Those  only  who  make  God  their 
dwelling-place,  are  safe  forever,  Ps.  xc.  1. — xci.  1. 
They  who  make  other  things  their  i*efuge,  will  be 
disappointed.  Sin  brings  ruin  on  persons  and  fami- 
lies. Yet  to  argue,  (as  Bildad,  I  doubt,  slily  does,) 
that  because  Job's  family  was  sunk,  and  he  himself, 
at  present,  seemed  helpless,  therefore  he  certainly 
was  an  ungodly  wicked  man,  was  neither  just  nor 
charitable,  as  long  as  there  appeared  no  other  evi- 
dence of  his  wickedness  and  ungodliness.  Let  us 
judge  nothing  before  the  time,  but  wail  till  the  se- 
crets of  all  hearts  shall  be  made  manifest;  and  the 
present  difficulties  of  Providence  be  solved,  to  uni- 
versal and  everlasting  satisfaction,  when  the  mystery 
of  God  shall  be  finished. 

CHAP.  IX. 

in  this,  and  the  following  chapter,  we  have  Job's  answer 
to  Bildad's  discourse,  %vherein  he  speaks  honourably  of 
God,  humbly  of  himself,  and  feelingly  of  his  troubles; 
but  not  one  word  by  way  of  reflection  upon  his  friends, 
or  their  unkindness  to  him,  nor  in  direct  reply  to  what 
Bildad  had  said.  He  wisely  keeps  to  the  merits  of  the 
cause,  and  makes  no  remarks  upon  the  person  that 
managed  it,  nor  seeks  occasion  against  him.  In  this 
chapter,  we  have,  I.  The  doctrine  of  God's  justice  laid 
down,  V.  2.  II.  The  proof  of  it,  from  his  wisdom,  and 
power,  and  sovereign  dominion,  v.  3..  13.  III.  The 
application  of  it,  in  which,  K  He  condemns  himself,  as 


>0 


JOB,  IX. 


1. 


not  able  to  contend  with  God,  either  in  law  or  battle,  v. 
14..  21.  2.  He  maintains  his  point,  that  we  cannot 
judge  of  men's  character  by  their  outward  condition,  v. 
22 .  .  24.  3.  He  complains  of  the  greatness  of  his 
troubles,  the  confusion  he  was  in,  and  the  loss  he  was 
at  what  to  say  or  do,  v.  26 . .  35. 

HEN  Job  answered  and  said,     2.  I 


know  it  is  so  of  a  truth :  but  how 
should  man  be  just  with  God?  3.  If  he  will 
contend  with  him,  he  cannot  answer  him 
one  of  a  thousand.  4.  He  is  wise  in  heart, 
and  mighty  in  strength:  who  hath  hardened 
himself  against  him,  and  hath  prospered  ? 
5.  Which  removeth  the  mountains,  and  they 
know  not;  which  overturneth  them  in  his 
anger;  6.  Which  shaketh  the  earth  out  of 
her  place,  and  the  pillars  thereof  tremble; 
7.  VVhich  commandeth  the  sun,  and  it  riseth 
not,  and  sealeth  up  the  stars;  8.  Which 
alone  spreadeth  out  the  heavens,  and  tread- 
eth  upon  the  waves  of  the  sea ;  9.  Which 
maketh  Arcturus,  Orion,  and  Pleiades,  and 
the  chambers  of  the  south ;  1 0.  Which  doeth 
great  things  past  finding  out,  yea,  and  won- 
ders without  number.  1 1 .  Lo,  he  goeth  by 
me,  and  I  see  him  not ;  he  passeth  on  also, 
but  I  perceive  him  not.  12.  Behold,  he 
taketh  away,  who  can  hinder  him?  Who 
will  say  unto  him.  What  doest  thou?  1 3,  If 
God  will  not  withdraw  his  anger,  the  proud 
helpers  do  stoop  under  him. 

Bildad  began  with  a  rebuke  to  Job  for  talking  so 
much,  ch.  viii.  2.  Job  makes  no  answer  to  that, 
though  it  had  been  easy  enough  to  retort  it  upon 
himself;  but  what  he  next  lays  down  as  his  prin- 
ciple, that  God  never  perverts  judgment,  Job  agrees 
with  him  in,  /  know  it  is  so  of  a  (ruth,  v.  2.  Note, 
VVe  should  be  ready  to  own  how  far  we  agree  with 
those  with  whom  we  dispute,  and  we  should  nut 
slight,  much  less  resist,  a  truth,  though  produced 
by  an  adversary,  and  urged  against  us,  but  receive  it 
in  the  light  and  love  of  it,  though  it  ha\  e  been  mis- 
applied. "Ids  so  of  a  truth,  that  wickedness  brings 
men  to  ruin,  and  the  godly  are  taken  under  God's 
special  protection.  These  are  truths  which  I  sub- 
scribe to;  but  how  can  any  man  make  good  his  part 
with  God?"  In  his  sight  shall  no  Jiesh  living  be 
justified,  Ps.  cxliii.  2.  How  should  man  be  just 
with  God?  Some  understand  this  as  a  passionate 
complaint  of  Goti's  strictness  and  severity,  that  he 
is  a  God  whom  there  is  no  dealing  with:  and  it 
cannot  be  denied  that  there  are,  in  this  cliapter, 
some  peevish  expressions,  which  seem  to  speak 
such  language  as  that.  But  I  take  this  rather  as  a 
pious  confession  of  man's  sinfulness,  and  his  own  in 
particular,  that  if  God  should  deal  with  any  of  us 
according  to  the  desert  of  our  iniquities,  we  were 
certainly  undone. 

I.  He  lays  this  down  for  a  truth,  that  man  is  an 
unequal  match  for  his  Maker,  either  in  dispute  or 
combat. 

1.  In  dispute;  (v.  3.)  If  he  tvill  contend  with  him, 
either  at  law  or  at  an  argument,  he  cannot  answer 
him  one  of  a  thousand.  (1.)  God  can  ;isk  a  thou- 
sand puzzling  questions,  which  those  that  quar- 
rel with  him,  and  arraign  his  proceedings,  cannot 
give  an  answer  to.  When  God  spake  to  Job  out  of 
the  whirlwind,  he  asked  him  a  great  many  ques- 
tions; Dost  thou  know  this.*     Camt  thou  do  that? 


To  none  of  which  Job  could  give  an  answer,  ch. 
xxx\iii.  and  xxxix.  God  can  easily  niunlebt  the 
folly  of  the  greatest  pretenders  to  wisdom.  (2.) 
God  can  lay  to  our  charge  a  thousand  offences,  can 
draw  up  against  us  a  thousand  articles  of  impeach- 
ment, and  we  cannot  answei-  him  so  as  to  acquit 
ourselves  from  the  imputation  of  any  of  them,  out 
must,  by  silence,  give  consent  that  they  aie  all 
true;  we  cannot  set  aside  one  as  foreign,  another  as 
frivolous,  and  another  as  false;  we  cannot,  as  to  one, 
deny  the  fact,  and  plead  not  guilty,  and,  as  to  ano- 
ther, deny  the  fault,  confess,  and  justify;  no,  we  are 
not  able  to  answer  him,  but  must  lay  our  hand  upot, 
our  mouth,  as  Job  did,  {ch.  xl.  4,  5.)  and  cr\, 
Guilty,  Guilty. 

2.  In  combat;  {v.  4.)  Who  hath  hardened  himself 
against  him,  and  hath  firosfiered?  Tlie  answer  is 
very  easy;  You  cannot  produce  any  instance,  from 
the  beginning  of  the  world  to  this  day,  of  any  during 
sinner,  who  has  hardened  himself  against  God,  has 
obstinately  persisted  in  rebellion  against  him,  wlio 
did  not  find  God  too  hard  for  him,  and  pay  dear  for 
his  folly.  They  have  not  prospered  or  had  peace; 
they  have  had  no  comfort  in  it  nor  success.  What 
did  ever  man  get  by  trials  of  skill,  or  trials  of  titles, 
with  his  Maker?  AH  the  opposition  given  to  Gcd, 
is  but  setting  briers  and  thorns  before  a  consuming 
fire;  so  foolish,  so  fruitless,  so  destructive,  is  the 
attempt,  Isa.  xxvii.  4.  1  Cor.  x.  22.  Apostate 
angels  hardened  themselves  against  God,  but  did 
not  prosper,  2  Pet.  ii.  4.  The  dragon  fights,  but  is 
cast  out.  Rev.  xii.  8.  Wricked  men  harden  them- 
selves against  God,  dispute  his  wisdom,  disobey  his 
laws,  are  impenitent  for  their  sins,  and  incorrigible, 
under  their  afflictions;  they  reject  the  offers  of  his 
grace,  and  resist  the  strivings  of  his  Spirit;  they 
make  nothing  of  his  threatenings,  and  make  head 
against  his  interest  in  the  world;  but  have  they 
prospered?  Can  they  prosper?  No,  they  are  but 
treasuring  ufi  for  themselves  wrath  agaijist  the  day 
of  wrath.  They  that  roll  this  stone,  will  find  it 
return  upon  them. 

II.  He  proves  it  by  showing  what  a  God  he  is, 
with  whom  we  have  to  do:  He  is  ivise  in  heart,  and 
therefore  we  cannot  answer  him  at  law;  he  is  mighty 
m  strejigth,  and  therefore  we  cannot  fight  it  out 
with  him.  It  is  the  greatest  madness  that  can  be, 
to  think  to  contend  with  a  God  of  infinite  wisdom 
and  power,  who  knows  every  thing,  and  can  do 
every  thing;  who  can  be  neither  outwitted  nor  over- 
powered. The  Devil  promised  himself  that  Job, 
in  the  day  of  his  affliction,  would  curse  God,  and 
speak  ill  of  him,  but,  instead  of  tliat,  he  sets  him- 
self to  honour  God,  and  to  speak  highly  of  him. 
As  much  pained  as  he  is,  and  as  much  taken  up 
with  his  own  miseries,  when  he  has  occasion  to 
mention  the  wisdom  and  power  of  God,  he  forgets 
his  complaints,  dwells  with  delight,  and  expatiates 
with  a  flood  of  eloquence,  upon  that  noble  useful 
subject. 

Evidences  of  the  wisdom  and  power  of  God  he 
fetches, 

1.  From  the  kingdom  of  nature,  in  which  the  God 
of  nature  acts  with  an  uncontrollable  power,  and 
does  what  he  pleases;  for  all  the  orders  and  all  the 
powers  of  nature  are  derived  from  him,  and  depend 
upon  him. 

(1.)  When  he  pleases,  he  alters  the  course  of  na- 
ture, and  turns  back  its  streams,  v.  5"7.     By  the 
common  law  of  nature,  the  mountains  are  settled, 
and  are  therefore  called  everlasting  mountains;  the 
earth  is  established,  and  cannot  be  removed,  (Ps. 
xciii.    1.)  and  the  pillars  thereof  are  immoveably 
I  fixed,  the  sun  rises  in  its  season,  and  the  stars  shcci 
j  their  influences  on  this  lower  world  ;    but,   when 
'  God  pleases,  he  can  not  only  drive  out  of  tlie  com 
1  nion  track,  but  inveit  the  order,  and  change  the 


JOB,  IX. 


51 


law,  of  nature.  [1.]  Nothing  more  firm  than  the 
mountains:  when  we  speak,  of  removing  mountains, 
•we  mean  that  which  is  impossible;  yet  the  divine 
power  can  make  them  change  their  seat;  he  removes 
them,  and  they  know  not;  removes  them  whether 
they  will  or  no;  he  can  make  them  lower  their 
heads;  he  can  level  them,  and  overturn  them  in  his 
ajiger;  he  can  spread  the  mountains  as  easily  as  the 
husbandman  spreads  the  mole-hills,  be  they  ever  so 
high,  and  large,  and  rocky.  Men  have  nmch  ado 
to  pass  over  them;  but  God,  when  he  pleases,  can 
make  them  pass  away.  He  made  Sinai  shake,  Ps. 
Ixviii.  8.  The  hills  skijificd,  Ps.  cxiv.  4.  The 
everlasting  rnoioitains  ivere  scattered,  Hab.  iii.  6. 
[2.]  Nothing  more  fixed  than  the  earth  on  its  axle- 
tree;  yet  God  can,  when  he  pleases,  shake  that  out 
of  its  place,  heave  it  oft"  its  centre,  and  make  even 
its  pillars  t  >  tremble;  what  seemed  to  support  it, 
will  itself  need  support,  when  God  gi\  es  it  a  shock. 
See  h((W  much  we  are  indebted  to  God's  patience; 
(iud  lias  power  enougli  to  shake  the  earth  from 
ur.dei- that  guilty  race  of  mankind,  which  makes  it 
groan  under  the  burthen  of  sin,  and  so  to  shake  the 
ivicked  out  of  it;  {ch.  xxxviii.  13.)  yet  he  continues 
the  earth,  and  man  upon  it,  and  makes  it  not  still, 
as  once,  to  swallow  up  the  rebels.  [3.]  Nothing 
more  constant  than  the  rising  sun,  it  never  misses 
its  appointed  time;  yet  God,  when  he  pleases,  can 
suspend  it.  He  that  at  first  commanded  it  to  rise, 
can  countermand  it.  Once  the  sun  was  bid  to  stand, 
iii'.d  anotlier  time  to  retreat,  to  show  that  it  is  still 
under  the  check  of  its  great  Creator.  Thus  great 
is  (iod's  power;  and  how  great  then  is  his  goodness, 
which  causes  his  sun  to  shine  even  upon  the  evil 
and  unthankful,  though  he  could  withhold  it!  He 
that  made  the  stars  also,  can,  if  lie  pleases,  seal 
tliem  up,  and  hide  them  from  our  eyes.  By  earth- 
quakes, and  subterraneous  fires,  mountains  have 
sometimes  been  removed,  and  the  earth  shaken: 
in  very  dark  and  cloudy  days  and  nights,  it  seems 
to  us  as  if  the  sun  were  forbidden  to  rise,  and  the 
stars  were  sealed  up.  Acts  xxvii.  20.  It  is  sufficient 
to  say,  that  Job  here  speaks  of  what  God  can  do; 
but  if  we  must  understand  it  of  what  he  has  done  in 
fact,  all  these  verses  may  perhaps  be  applied  to 
Noah's  flood,  when  the  mountains  of  the  eai'th  were 
shaken,  and  the  sun  and  stars  were  darkened.  The 
world  that  now  is,  we  believe  to  be  reserved  for  that 
fire  which  will  consume  the  mountains,  and  melt 
the  earth  with  its  fervent  lieat,  and  which  will  turn 
the  sun  into  darkness. 

(2.)  As  long  as  he  pleases,  he  preserves  the  settled 
course  and  order  of  nature;  and  this  is  a  continued 
creation.  He  himself  alone,  by  his  own  power,  and 
without  the  assistance  of  any  other,  [1.]  S/ireads 
out  the  heaven;  {v.  8. )  not  only  did  spread  them  out 
at  first,  but  still  spreads  them  out,  that  is,  keeps 
them  spread  out;  for  otherwise  they  would  of  them- 
selves roll  together  like  a  scroll  of  parchment.  [2.  ] 
He  (reads  u/ion  the  roaves  of  the  sea;  that  is,  he 
suppresses  them  and  keeps  them  under,  that  they 
return  not  to  deluge  the  earth;  (Ps.  civ.  9.)  which 
is  gi\en  as  a  reason  why  we  should  all  fear  God,  and 
stand  in  awe  of  him,  Jer.  v.  22.  He  is  mightier  than 
the  proud  waves,  Ps.  xciii.  4. — Ixv.  7.  [3.]  He 
makes  the  constellations;  three  are  named  for  all 
the  rest,  {v.  9.)  Arcturus,  Orion,  and  Pleiades,  and, 
in  general,  the  chambers  of  the  south:  the  stars  of 
which  these  are  composed,  he  madeat  first,  and  put 
into  tliat  order,  and  he  still  makes  them,  preserves 
them  in  being,  and  guides  their  motions;  he  makes 
them  to  be  what  they  are  to  man,  and  inclines  the 
hearts  of  men  to  observe  them,  which  the  beasts  are 
not  capable  of  doing.  Not  only  those  stars  which 
we  see  and  give  names  to,  but  those  also  in  the  other 
hemisphere,  about  the  antarctic  pole,  which  never 
come  in  our  sight,  called  here  the  chambers  of  the 


south,  are  under  the  divine  direction  and  dominion. 
How  wise  is  he  then,  and  how  mighty! 

2.  Evidences  are  here  fetched  from  the  kingdom 
of  Providence,  that  special  Providence  which  is 
conversant  about  the  affairs  of  the  children  of  men. 
Consider  what  God  does  in  the  government  of  the 
world,  and  you  will  say.  He  is  wise  in  heart,  aJid 
mighty  in  strength, 

(1. )  He  does  many  things  and  great,  many  and 
great  to  admiration,  v.  10.  Job  here  says  the  same 
that  Eliphaz  had  said;  {ch.  v.  9.)  and,  in  the  origi- 
nal, in  the  very  same  words,  not  declining  to  speak 
after  him,  though  now  his  antagonist.  God  is  a  great 
God,  and  doeth  great  things,  a  wonder-working 
God;  his  works  of  wonder  are  so  many  that  we  can- 
not number  them,  and  so  mysterious  that  we  cannot 
find  them  out.     O  the  depth  of  his  counsels! 

(2.)  He  acts  invisibly  and  undiscerned,  Tc.  11.  He 
goes  by  me  in  his  operations,  and  I  see  him  not,  I 
perceive  him  not;  his  way  is  in  the  sea,  Ps.  lxx\  ii. 
19.  The  operations  of  second  causes  are  common- 
ly obvious  to  sense,  but  God  doeth  all  about  us,  and 
yet  we  see  him  not.  Acts  xvii.  23.  Our  finite  under- 
standings cannot  fathom  his  counsels,  apprehend  his 
motions,  or  comprehend  the  measures  he  takes. 
We  are  therefore  incompetent  judges  of  God's  pro- 
ceedings, because  we  know  not  what  he  doeth,  or 
what  he  designeth.  The  arcana  imfierii — secrets 
of  government,  are  things  above  us,  which  therefore 
we  must  not  pretend  to  expound,  or  comment  upon. 

(3.)  He  acts  with  an  incontestable  sovereignty, 
V.  12.  He  takes  away  our  creature-comforts  and 
confidences,  when  and  as  he  pleases,  takes  away 
health,  estate,  relations,  friends,  takes  away  life 
itself;  whatever  goes,  it  is  he  that  takes  it;  by  what 
hand  soever  it  is  removed,  his  hand  must  be  ac- 
knowledged in  it;  the  Lord  takes  away,  and  who 
can  hinder  him?  Whocan  turn  him  away?  Marg. 
Who  shall  make  him.  restore?  So  some.  Who  can 
dissuade  him,  or  alter  his  counsels.-*  Who  can  re- 
sist him,  or  oppose  his  operations?  Who  can  con- 
trol him,  or  call  him  to  an  account  for  it?  What 
action  can  be  brought  against  him?  Or  who  will  say 
unto  him,  JlTiat  dost  thou?  Or,  Why  dost  thou  so? 
D  m.  iv.  35.  God  is  not  obliged  to  give  us  a  reason 
of  what  he  doeth.  The  meaning  of  his  proceedings 
we  know  not  now;  it  will  be  time  enough  to  know 
hereafter,  when  it  will  appear  that  what  seemed 
now  to  be  done  by  prerogative,  was  done  in  infinite 
wisdom,  and  for  the  best. 

(4.)  He  acts  with  an  irresistible  power,  which 
no  creature  can  resist,  v.  13.  If  God  will  not  with- 
draw his  anger,  (which  he  can  do  when  he  pleases, 
for  he  is  Lord  of  his  anger,  lets  it  out,  or  calls  it  in, 
according  to  his  will,)  the  firoud  helpers  do  stoop 
under  him;  that  is.  He  certainly  breaks  and  crushes 
those  that  proudly  help  one  another  against  him; 
proud  men  set  themselves  against  God  and  his  pro- 
ceedings; in  this  opposition  they  join  hand  in  hand. 
l^ie  kings  of  the  earth  set  themselves,  and  the 
rulers  take  counsel  together,  to  throw  off  his  yoke, 
to  run  down  his  truths,  and  to  persecute  his  people; 
Men  of  Israel,  hel/i.  Acts  xxi.  28.  Ps.  Ixxxiii.  8.  If 
one  enemy  of  God's  kingdom  fall  under  his  judgment, 
the  rest  come  proudly  to  help  that,  and  think  to 
deliver  that  out  of  his  hand:  but  in  vain;  unless  he 
pleases  to  withdraw  his  anger,  (which  he  often  does, 
for  it  is  the  day  of  his  patience,)  the  proud  helpers 
stoop  under  him,  and  fall  with  those  whom  they  de- 
signed to  help.  Who  knows  the  power  of  God's 
anger?  They  who  think  they  have  strengtii 
enough  to  help  others,  will  not  be  able  to  help  them- 
selves against  it. 

14.  How  much  less  shall  I  answer  him, 
rntd  choose  out  my  words  to  reason  with  him? 
15.  Whom,  though  I  were  righteous,  yet 


JOB,  IX. 


would  I  not  answer,  hut  I  would  make  sup- 
plication to  my  Judge.  16.  If  I  had  called, 
and  he  had  answered  me :  yet  would  I  not 
believe  that  he  had  hearkened  unto  ray  voice. 
1 7.  For  he  breaketh  me  with  a  tempest,  and 
multiplieth  my  wounds  without  cause.  1 8. 
He  will  not  suffer  me  to  take  my  breath,  but 
filleth  me  with  bitterness.  19.  If  7  speak  of 
strength,  \o,he  is  strong  :  and  if  of  judgment, 
who  shall  set  me  a  time  fo  plead?  20.  Jf  1 
justify  myself,  mine  own  mouth  shall  con- 
demn me:  if  I  say,  I  am  perfect,  it  shall  al- 
so prove  me  perverse.  21.  Though  I  ivere 
perfect,  yet  would  I  not  know  my  soul :  I 
would  despise  my  life. 

What  Job  had  said  of  man's  utter  inability  to  con- 
tend with  God,  he  here  apjilies  to  himself,  and,  in 
effect,  despairs  of  gaining  his  favour;  which  (some 
think)  arises  from  the  hard  thoughts  he  had  of  God, 
as  one  who,  having  set  himself  against  him,  right  or 
wrong,  would  be  too  hard  for  him.  I  rather  think 
it  arises  from  the  sense  he  had  of  the  imperfection 
of  his  own  righteousness,  and  the  dark  and  cloudy 
apprehensions  which,  at  present,  he  had  of  God's 
displeasure  against  him. 

I.  He  dares  not  dispute  with  God;  (v.  14.)  "If 
the  firoud  helfiers  do  stoop,  under  him,  hoiv  much 
less  shall  I,  a  poor  weak  creature,  (so  far  from  being 
a  helper,  that  I  am  very  helpless,)  hoiv  shall  I  an- 
swer him?  What  can  I  say  against  that  wliit  h  God 
doeth?  If  I  go  about  to  reason  with  him,  he  will 
certainly  be  too  hard  for  me. "  If  th.e  potter  make 
■the  clay  into  a  vessel  of  dishonour,  or  breik  in 
pieces  the  vessel  he  has  made,  shall  the  clay  or  the 
broken  vessel  reason  with  him?  So  absurd  is  the 
man  who  replies  against  God,  or  thinks  to  talk  it 
out  with  him.     No,  let  all  flesh  be  silent  before  him. 

II.  He  dares  not  insist  upon  his  own  justification 
before  God.  Though  he  vindicated  his  own  integ- 
rity to  his  friends,  and  would  not  yield  thut  he  was 
a  hypocrite  and  a  wicked  man,  as  they  suggested, 
yet  he  would  never  plead  it  as  his  righteousness  be- 
fore God.  I  will  never  venture  upon  the  covenant 
of  innocency,  nor  think  to  come  oflPby  virtue  of  that 

job  knew  so  much  of  God,  and  knew  so  much  of 
himself,  that  he  durst  not  insist  upon  his  own  justi- 
fication before  God. 

1.  He  knew  so  much  of  God,  that  he  durst  not 
stand  a  trial  with  him,  t.  15.  19.  He  knew  how  to 
make  his  part  good  with  his  friends,  and  thought 
himself  able  to  deal  with  them;  but,  though  his 
cause  had  been  better  than  it  was,  he  knew  it  was 
to  no  purpose  to  debate  it  with  God. 

(1.)  God  knew  him  better  than  he  knew  himself; 
and  therefore,  {v.  15.)  "Though  I  were  righteous 
in  my  own  apprehension,  and  my  own  heart  did  not 
condemn  me,  yet  God  is  greater  than  my  heart,  and 
knows  those  secret  faults  and  errors  of  mine  which 
I  donot,  and  cannot,  understand,  and  is  able  to  charge 
me  with  them,  and  therefore  I  will  not  answer."  St. 
Paul  speaks  to  the  same  purport;  /  know  nothing 
by  myself,  am  not  conscious  to  myself  of  any  reign- 
ing wickedness,  and  yet  lam  not  hereby  justified, 
1  Cor.  iv.  4.  "  I  dare  not  put  myself  upon  that  issue, 
lest  God  charge  that  upon  me  which  I  did  not  dis- 
cover in  myself. "  .lob  will  therefore  waive  that  plea, 
and  make  sufifilication  to  his  Judge;  that  is,  will  cast 
himself  upon  God's  mercy,  and  not  think  to  come 
off  bv  his  own  merit. 

(2.)  He  had  no  reason  to  think  that  there  was 
anv  thing  in  his  prwc'-s  to  recommend  them  to  the 
divine  acceptance,  or  to  fetch  in  an  answer  of  peace; 


no  worth  or  worthiness  at  all,  to  which  to  ascribe 
their  success;  but  it  must  be  attributed  purely  to  tlie 
grace  and  compassion  of  God,  who  answers  befjre 
we  call,  and  not  because  we  call,  and  gives  gracio.s 
answers  to  our  prayers,  but  not  jTo?-  our  prayers,  v. 
16.  "  If  I  had  called,  and  he  had  answered,  had 
given  the  thing  I  called  to  him  for,  yet,  so  weak  and 
defective  are  my  best  prayers,  that  I  would  not  be- 
lieve he  had  therein  hearkened  to  my  voice;  I  covild 
not  say  that  he  had  saved  with  his  right  /land,  mid 
answered  me,"  (Ps.  Ix.  5.)  "  but  that  he  did  it  pure- 
ly for  his  own  name's  sake."  BislK)p  Patiick  ex- 
pounds it  thus;  "If  I  had  made  buppli  Hiion,  j.nd  he 
had  granted  my  desire,  I  wiiuld  n(,t  think  n\y  pr  .ytr 
had  done  the  business."  JVot  for  your  ■•^akes  be  it 
known  to  you. 

(3.)  His  present  miseries,  which  God  had  Ijn  u;.>ht 
him  into,  notwithstanding  his  integrity,  gave  liun 
too  sensible  a  conviction,  that,  in  the  ordLrini^-  iii.d 
disposing  of  men's  outward  condition  in  th  b  world, 
God  acts  by  sovereignty,  and  tliough  he  ucn  cr  doth 
wrong  to  any,  yet  he  doth  not  e\  er  give  full  u:^iit 
to  all;  that  is,  the  best  do  not  always  fare  best,  in  r 
the  worst  fare  worst,  in  this  life,  because  he  le- 
serves  the  full  and  exact  d'stribution  of  rewards  ;ind 
punishments  for  the  future  state.  Job  was  not  c  n- 
scious  to  himself  of  any  extraordinary  guilt,  and  \et 
fell  under  extraordinary  afflictions,  v.  \7 ,  18.  Every 
man  must  expect  the  wind  to  blow  upon  him,  :i)id 
ruffle  him,  but  Job  was  broken  with  a  tempest; 
every  man,  in  the  midst  of  these  tin  rns  and  briers, 
must  expect  to  be  scratched,  but  Job  was  wounded, 
and  his  wounds  multiplied.  Every  man  must  ex- 
pect a  cross  daily,  and  to  taste  sometimes  of  the 
bitter  cup;  but  poor  Job's  troubles  c  n.e  so  thick 
up'  n  him,  that  he  had  no  breathing  time,  he  was 
filled  with  bitterness;  and  he  presumes  to  say  that 
all  this  was  without  cause,  without  any  great  ])ro- 
vocation  given.  We  have  made  the  best  of  what 
Job  said  hitherto,  though  contrary  to  thp  judgment 
of  many  good  interpreters;  but  here,  no  doubt,  he 
sfiake  unadvisedly  with  his  li/is;  he  i-eflected  on 
God's  goodness,  in  saying  that  he  was  not  s\iffej-ed 
to  take  his  breath,  while  yet  he  hid  such  good  use 
of  his  reason  and  speech  to  be  able  to  talk  thus;  and 
on  his  justice,  in  saying  that  it  was  without  cause. 
Yet  it  is  true,  that,  as,  on  the  one  hand,  there  are 
many  who  are  chargeable  with  moie  sin  than  the 
common  infirmities  of  the  human  nature,  and  yet 
feel  no  more  sorrow  than  that  of  the  common  calami- 
ties of  human  life;  so,  on  the  other  hand,  there  are 
many  who  feel  more  than  the  common  calamities  of 
human  life,  and  yet  are  conscious  to  themselves  of 
no  more  than  the  common  infiimities  of  human 
nature. 

(4.)  He  was  in  no  capacity  at :  11  t"  make  his  part 
good  with  God,  v.  19.  [1.]  Not  by  force  of  arms; 
"I  dare  not  enter  the  lists  of  the  Almighty;  for,  if 
I  speak  of  strength,  and  think  to  come  off  by  that, 
lo,  he  is  strong;  stronger  than  I,  and  will  rertninly 
overpower  me."  There  is  no  disputing  (said' one 
once  to  Csesar)  with  him  that  commands  legions; 
much  less  with  him  that  his  legions  of  angels  at 
command.  Can  thine  heart  endure,  (thy  courage 
and  presence  of  mind,)  or  can  thine  hands  be  strong 
to  defend  thyself,  in  the  days  that  I  shall  deal  with 
thee?  Ezek.  xxii.  14.  [2.]  Not  by  force  of  anv >- 
ments:  "  I  dare  not  try  the  merirs  of  the  cause;  if  I 
speak  of  judgment,  and  insist  upon  my  right,  who 
will  set  me  a  time  to  plead?  There  i.s  no  higher 
power  to  which  I  may  appeal,  no  superior  court  to 
appoint  a  hearing  of  the  cause,  for  He  is  supreme, 
and  from  Him  every  man's  judgment  proceeds, 
which  he  must  abide  by." 

2.  He  knew  so  much  of  himself,  that  he  durst  no' 
stand  a  trial,  v.  20,  21.  "If  I  go  about  to  justify 
mvself,  and  to  plead  arigh*eousnc?s  of  my  own,  my 


JOB,  IX. 


53 


defence  will  be  my  offence;  and  mme  own  mouth 
«'/ ./('  coiiilf-ntn  me,  even  when  it  goes  about  to  ac- 
quit me."  A  good  man,  who  knows  the  deceitful- 
ness  of  his  own  heart,  and  is  jealous  over  it  with  a 
g'^d  y  je  lio  sy,  and  h.is  often  discovered  that  amiss 
tiierc,  wiicli  had  long  lain  undiscovered,  is  suspi- 
cious of  more  evil  in  himself  than  he  is  really  con- 
scious of,  and  therefore  will  Ijy  no  means  think,  of 
justifying  himself  before  God.  If  we  say,  "We 
liave  no  sin,"  we  not  only  deceive  oui'selves,  but 
we  aff  out  God,  for  we  sin  in  sayingso,  and  give  the 
lie  to  die  scripture,  which  has  concluded  all  under  sin. 
"If  I  s.iy,  I  am  perfect,  I  am  sinless,  God  has 
nothing  to  lay  to  my  charge,  my  very  sayingso  shall 
prove  me  perverse,  proud,  ignorant,  and  presump- 
tu  us.  Nay,  though  I  were  perfect,  though  God 
suould  pronounce  ine  just,  yet  would  I  not  know 
my  soul;  I  would  not  be  in  care  about  the  prolong- 
ing of  my  life,  while  it  is  loaded  with  all  these  mi- 
series."  Or,  "  Though  I  were  free  from  gross  sin, 
though  my  conscience  should  not  charge  me  with 
any  enormous  crime,  yet  would  I  not  believe  my 
own  heart  so  far  as  to  insist  upon  my  innocency,  nor 
think  my  life  worth  striving  for  with  God."  In 
short,  it  is  folly  to  contend  with  God,  and  our  wis- 
dom, as  well  as  duty,  to  submit  to  him,  and  throw 
ourselves  at  his  feet. 

22.  Tliis  is  one  things  therefore  f  said  z7, 
He  destroyetli  the  perfect  and  the  wicked. 
23.  If  the  scourge  slay  suddenly,  he  will 
laugh  at  the  trial  of  the  innocent.  24.  The 
earth  is  given  into  the  hand  of  the  wicked  : 
he  covereth  the  faces  of  the  judges  thereof; 
if  not,  where,  and  who  is  he  ? 

Here  Job  touches  briefly  upon  the  main  point  now 
in  dispute  between  him  and  his  friends.  They  main- 
tained that  those  who  are  righteous  and  good  always 
prosper  m  this  world,  and  none  but  the  wicked  are 
in  misery  and  distress;  he  asserted,  on  the  contrary, 
that  it  is  a  common  thing  for  the  wicked  to  prosper, 
and  the  righteous  to  be  greatly  afflicted:  this  is  the 
one  thing,  the  chief  thing,  wherein  he  and  his  friends 
differed;  and  they  had  not  proved  their  assertion; 
therefore  he  abides  by  his;  "  I  said  it,  and  say  it 
again,  that  all  things  come  alike  to  all." 

Now  it  must  be  owned, 

1.  That  there  is  very  much  truth  in  what  Job 
here  means;  that  temporal  judgments,  when  they 
are,  set  abroad,  fall  both  upon  good  and  bad,  and 
the  destroying  angel  seldom  distinguishes  (though 
once  he  did)  between  the  houses  of  the  Israelites 
and  the  houses  of  the  Egyptians. 

In  the  judgment  of  Sodom,  indeed,  which  is  call- 
ed the  vengeance  of  eternal  Jire,  (Jude  vii. )  far  be 
it  from  (iod  to  slay  the  righteous  with  the  wicked, 
arid  that  the  righteous  should  be  as  the  wicked; 
(Gen.  xviii.  25.)  but  in  judgments  merely  temporal 
the  riirhteous  have  their  share,  and  sometimes  the 
K''eatest  sh  ire.  The  sword  devours  one  as  well  as 
anotlier,  Jnsiah  as  well  as  Ahab.  Thus  God  de- 
Kfrmis  the  perfect  and  the  wicked,  involves  them 
both  in  the  same  common  ruin;  good  and  bad  were 
sent  together  into  Babylon,  Jer.  xxiv.  5,  9.  If  the 
scourge  slay  suddenly,  and  sweep  down  all  before 
It,  God  will  be  well  pleased  to  see  how  the  same 
Ncouree,  which  is  the  perdition  of  the  wicked,  is  the 
trial  of  the  innocent,  and  of  their  faith,  which  will 
he  found  unto  firaUte,  and  honour,  and  glory,  1  Pet. 
1.  7.  ^'s.  Ixvi.  10. 

Against  the  just  tli'  Almighty's  arrows  fly, 
For  he  delisihif!  ihp  innocehl  to  try  : 
To  show  their  constant  and  their  God-iike  mind, 
Not  by  afflictions  broken,  but  refin'd. 

Sir  R.  Blackuore 


Let  this  reconcile  God's  children  to  their  trou- 
bles; they  are  but  trials,  designed  for  their  honour 
and  benefit;  and,  if  God  be  pleased  with  them,  let 
not  them  be  displeased;  if  he  laugh  at  the  trial  of 
the  innocent,  knowing  how  glorious  the  issue  of  it 
will  be,  at  destruction  and  famine  let  them  also 
laugh,  {ch.  V.  22. )  and  triumph  over  them,  saying, 
O  death,  where  is  thy  sting! 

On  the  other  hand,  the  wicked  are  so  far  from 
being  made  the  marks  of  God's  judgments,  that  the 
earth  is  given  into  their  hand,  v.  24.  They  enjoy 
large  possessions  and  great  power,  have  what  they 
will,  and  do  what  they  will.  Into  the  hand  of  (he 
wicked  o)ie:  in  the  original,  it  is  singular;  the  Devil, 
that  wicked  one,  is  called  the  god  of  this  world,  and 
boasts  that  into  his  hands  it  is  delivered,  Luke  iv.  6. 
Or,  into  the  hand  of  a  wicked  man,  meaning  (as 
Bishop  Patrick  and  the  Assembly's  Annotations 
conjecture)  some  noted  tyrant  then  living  in  those 
parts,  whose  great  wickedness  and  great  prosperity 
were  well  known  both  to  Job  and  his  friends.  The 
wicked  have  the  earth  given  them,  but  the  righte- 
ous have  heaven  given  them;  and  which  is  better — 
heaven  without  earth,  or  earth  without  heaven? 
God,  in  his  providence,  advances  wicked  men, 
while  he  covers  the  faces  of  those  who  are  fit  to  be 
judges,  who  are  wise  and  good,  and  qualified  for 
government,  and  buries  them  alive  in  obscurity; 
perhaps  suffers  them  to  be  run  down  and  condemn- 
ed, and  to  have  their  faces  covered  as  criminals,  by 
those  wicked  ones  into  whose  hand  the  earth  is 
given.  We  daily  see  this  is  done;  if  it  be  not  God 
that  doeth  it,  where  and  who  is  he  that  doeth  it? 
To  whom  can  it  be  ascribed  but  to  Him  that  rules 
in  the  kingdoms  of  men,  and  gives  them  to  whom 
he  will?  Dan.  iv.  32. 

2.  Yet  it  must  be  owned  that  there  is  too  much 
passion  in  what  Job  here  says.  The  manner  of  ex- 
pression is  peevish:  when  he  meant  that  God  afflicts, 
he  ought  not  to  have  said.  He  destroys  both  the 
perfect  and  the  wicked:  when  he  meant  that  God 
pleases  himself  with  the  trial  of  the  innocent,  he 
ought  not  to  ha\  e  said.  He  laughs  at  it,  for  he  doth 
not  afflict  willingly.  When  the  spirit  is  heated, 
either  with  dispute  or  with  discontent,  we  have 
need  to  set  a  watch  before  the  door  of  our  lips,  that 
we  may  observe  decorum  in  speaking  of  divine 
things. 

25.  Now  my  days  are  swifter  than  a  post : 
they  flee  away,  they  see  no  good.  26.  They 
are  passed  away  as  the  swift  ships;  as  the 
eagle  that  hasteth  to  the  prey.  27.  If  I  say, 
I  will  forget  my  complaint,  I  will  leave  ofif 
my  heaviness,  and  comfort  myself;  28.  I 
am  afraid  of  all  my  sorrows,  1  know  that 
thou  wilt  not  hold  me  innocent.  29.  If  I 
be  wicked,  why  then  labour  I  in  vain?  30. 
If  I  wash  myself  with  snow-water,  and 
make  my  hands  never  so  clean;  31.  Yet 
shalt  thou  plunge  me  in  the  ditch,  and  mine 
own  clothes  shall  abhor  me.  32.  For  he  is 
not  a  man,  as  I  am,  that  I  should  answer 
him,  and  we  should  come  together  in  judg- 
ment. 33.  Neither  is  there  any  days-man 
betwixt  us,  that  might  lay  his  hand  upon  us 
both.  34.  Let  him  take  his  rod  away  from 
me,  and  let  not  his  fear  terrify  me;  35. 
Then  would  I  speak,  and  not  fear  him :  but 
it  is  not  so  with  me. 

Job  here  grows  more  and  more  querulous,  and 


54 


JOB,  IX. 


does  not  conclude  this  chapter  with  such  awful  ex- 
pressions of  God's  wisdom  and  justice  as  he  began 
with.  They  that  indulge  a  complaining  humour, 
know  not  to  what  indecencies,  nay  to  what  impie- 
ties, it  will  hurry  them.  The  beginning  of  that 
strife  with  God  is  as  the  letting  forth  of  water; 
therefore  leave  jt  off,  before  it  be  meddled  with. 
When  we  are  in  trouble,  we  are  allowed  to  com- 
plain to  God,  as  the  Psalmist,  often,  but  must  by 
no  means  complain  q/God,  as  Job  here. 

I.  His  complaint  here  of  the  passing  away  of  the 
days  of  his  prosperity  is  proper;  {y.  25,  26.)  "My 
days,  that  is,  all  my  good  days,  are  gone,  never  to 
return;  gone  of  a  sudden,  gone  ere  I  was  aware: 
never  did  any  courier  that  went  express,"  (like 
Cushi  and  Ahimaaz,)  "with  good  tidings,  make 
such  haste  as  all  my  comforts  did  from  me;  ne\er 
d'.d  ship  sail  to  its  port,  never  did  eagle  fly  upon  his 
l)rey,  with  such  incredible  swiftness;  nor  does  there 
1  emain  any  traces  of  my  prosperity,  any  more  than 
there  does  of  an  eagle,  in  the  air,  or  a  ship  in  the 
sea,"  Prov.  xxx.  19.  See  here,  1.  How  swift  the 
motion  of  time  is;  it  is  always  upon  the  wing,  h;  s- 
tening  to  its  period;  it  stays  for  no  man.  What  lit- 
tle need  have  we  of  pastimes,  and  what  great  need 
to  redeem  time,  when  time  runs  out,  runs  on  so 
fast  towards  eternity,  which  comes  as  time  goes! 
2.  How  vain  the  enjoyments  of  time  are,  which  we 
may  be  quite  deprived  of  while  yet  time  continues! 
Our  day  may  be  lou;  er  than  the  sun-shine  of  our 
prosperity;  and  when  that  is  gone,  it  is  as  if  it  had 
not  been.  The  remembrance  of  having  done  our 
duty  will  be  pleasing  afterward;  so  will  not  the  re- 
membrance of  our  having  got  a  great  deal  of  world- 
ly wealth,  when  it  is  all  lost  and  gone.  They  flee 
away,  past  recall;  they  see  no  good,  andlea\e  none 
behind  them. 

n.  His  complaint  of  his  present  uneasiness  is  ex- 
cusable, V.  '27,  28.  1.  It  should  seem  he  did  his 
endeavour  to  quiet  and  compose  himself,  as  his 
friends  advised  him.  Tliat  was  the  good  he  would 
do:  he  would  fain  forget  his  complaints  and  praise 
God,  would  leave  off  his  heaviness  and  comfort  him- 
self, that  he  might  be  fit  for  converse  both  with 
'iod  and  man;  but,  2.  He  found  he  could  not  do  it; 
"  I  am  afraid  of  all  my  sorrows;  then  when  I  strive 
most  against  my  trouble,  it  prevails  most  over  me, 
and  proves  too  hard  for  me!"  It  is  easier,  in  such 
a  case,  to  know  what  we  should  do  than  to  do  it;  to 
know  what  temper  we  should  be  in  than  to  get  into 
that  temper,  and  keep  in  it.  It  is  easy  to  preach 
patience  to  those  that  are  in  trouble,  and  to  tell  them 
they  must  forget  their  complaints,  and  comfort 
themselves;  but  it  is  not  so  soon  done  as  said.  Fear 
and  sorrow  are  tyrannizing  things,  not  easily  brought 
into  the  subjection  they  ought  to  be  kept  in  to  reli- 
gion and  right  reason. 

III.  But  his  complaint  of  God,  as  implacable  and 
inexorable,  was  by  no  me;ins  to  be  excused.  It  was 
the  language  of  his  corruption.  He  knew  better 
things,  and,  at  another  time,  would  ha\  e  been  far 
from  harbouring  any  such  hard  thoughts  of  God  as 
now  broke  in  upon  his  spirit,  and  broke  out  in  these 
passionate  complaints.  Good  men  do  not  always 
speak  like  themselves;  but  God  considers  their 
frame,  and  the  strength  of  their  temptations;  gives 
them  leave  afterward  to  imsay  it  by  repentance, 
and  will  not  lay  it  to  their  charge. 

Job  seems  to  speak  here, 

1.  As  if  he  despaired  of  obtaining  from  God  any 
relief  or  redress  of  his  grievances,  though  he  should 
produce  ever  so  good  proofs  of  his  integrity;  "/ 
know  thou  ivilt  not  hold  me  innocent;  my  afflictions 
have  continued  so  long  upon  me,  and  increased  so 
fast,  that  I  do  not  expect  thou  wilt  ever  clear  up 
my  innocency  by  delivering  me  out  of  them,  and 
restoring  me  to  a  prosperous  condition.     Right  or 


wrong,  I  must  be  treated  as  a  wicked  man;  my 
friends  will  continue  to  think  so  of  me,  and  God  will 
continue  upon  me  the  afflictions  which  give  them 
occasion  to  think  so;  why  then  do  I  labour  in  \  ain 
to  clear  myself,  and  maintain  my  own  integrity.''" 
V.  29.  It  is  to  no  purpose  to  speak  in  a  cause  that 
is  already  pre-judgcd.  With  men  it  is  often  labour 
in  \  ain  for  the  most  innocent  to  go  about  to  clear 
themselves;  they  must  be  adjudged  guilty,  though 
the  evidence  be  ever  so  plain  for  them:  but  it  is  not 
so  in  cur  dealings  with  Gcd,  who  is  the  Patron  cf 
oppressed  innocency,  and  to  whom  it  was  never  in 
vain  to  commit  a  rightecus  cause. 

Nay,  he  not  only  despairs  of  relief,  but  expects 
that  his  endeavour  to  clear  himself  would  render 
him  yet  more  obnoxious;  {y.  30,  31.)  "  Jf  I  wash 
myself  with  snow-water,  and  make  my  integrity 
ever  so  evident,  it  will  be  all  to  no  purpose,  judg- 
ment must  go  against  me,  thou  shalt  plunge  me  in 
the  ditch,"  (the  pit  of  destruction,  so  some,  or  rather 
the  filthy  kennel,  or  sewer,)  "which  will  make  me 
so  oftensi\e  in  the  nostrils  of  all  about  me,  that  my 
own  cli  thes  shall  abhor  me,  and  I-shall  even  loathe 
to  touch  myself."  He  saw  his  afflictions  coming 
from  God,  those  were  the  things  that  blackened 
him  in  the  eye  of  his  friends,  and,  upon  that  score, 
he  complained  of  them,  and  of  the  continuance  of 
them,  as  the  ruin,  not  only  of  his  comfoit,  but  of 
his  reputation.  Yet  these  words  are  capable  of  a 
good  consti'uction.  If  we  be  ever  so  industrious  to 
justify  oui  sel\  es  before  men,  and  to  preserve  cur 
credit  with  them,  if  we  keep  our  hands  ever  so 
clean  from  the  pollutions  of  gross  sin,  which  fall 
under  the  eye  of  the  world;  yet  God;  who  knows 
our  hearts,  can  charge  us  with  so  much  secret  sin 
as  will  for  ever  take  off"  all  our  pretensions  to  purity 
and  innocency,  and  make  us  see  ourselves  odious  in 
the  sight  of  the  holy  God.  Paul,  while  a  Pharisee, 
made  his  hands  very  clean;  but  when  the  c(  m- 
mandment  came,  and  discovered  to  him  his  heart- 
sins,  made  him  know  lust,  that  /ilunged  him  in  the 
ditch. 

2.  As  if  he  despaired  to  have  so  much  as  a  fair 
hearing  with  God,  and  that  were  hard  indeed. 

(1.)  Hecomplainsthat  he  wasnotupon  even  terms 
with  God;  (r.  32.)  "  He  is  not  a  man,  as  I  am.  I 
could  venture  to  dispute  with  a  man  like  myself, 
(the  potsherds  may  stri\  e  with  the  potsherds  rf  the 
earth,)  but  he  is  infinitely  abo\e  me,  and  thevef<  re 
I  dare  not  enter  the  lists  with  him,  I  shall  certainly 
be  cast  off"if  I  contend  with  him."  Note,  [1.]  God 
is  not  a  man  as  we  are.  Of  the  greatest  princes  we 
may  say,  "They  are  men  .is  we  are,"  but  net  of 
the  great  God.  His  thoughts  and  ways  are  infi- 
nitely above  ours,  and  we  must  not  measure  l-.im 
by  ourselves.  Man  is  foolish  and  weak,  frail  and 
fickle,  Ijut  God  is  not.  We  are  depending,  (h'ing. 
creatures;  he  the  independent  and  immortal  Crea- 
tor. [2.]  The  consideration  of  this  should  keep  us 
\  ery  low,  and  very  silent,  before  God.  Let  us  not 
make  ourselves  equal  with  God,  'but  always  eye 
him  as  infinitely  above  us. 

(2.)  That  there  was  no  arbitrator  or  umpire  to 
adjust  the  differences  between  him  and  God,  and 
to  determine  the  controversy;  (z'.  55.)  A'either  is 
there  any  daysman.  This  complaint  that  there 
was  not,  is,  in  effect,  a  wish  that  there  were,  and 
so  the  LXX  read  it;  O  that  there  were  a  mediator 
between  us!  Job  would  gladly  refer  the  matter, 
but  no  creature  was  capable  of  being  a  referee,  and 
therefore  he  must  even  refer  it  still  to  God  himself, 
and  resolve  to  acquiesce  in  his  judgment.  Our  Lord 
Jesus  is  the  blessed  Daysman,  who  has  mediated 
between  Heaven  and  earth,  has  laid  his  hand  upon 
us  both;  tn  him  the  Father  has  committed  all  judg 
ment,  and  we  must:  but  this  nvtter  was  not  then 
l.rought  to  so  clear  a  light  as  it  is  now  by  the  gi  s- 


JOB,  X. 


55 


pel,  which  leaves  no  room  for  such  a  conij)laini  ;»» 
tliih. 

(3.)  That  the  tevnjrs  of  God,  uhich  set  them- 
selves in  array  against  him,  put  him  into  such  con- 
fusion, that  lie  knew  not  h(  w  to  address  himself  to 
God  with  the  confident  e  with  which  he  was  ft)r- 
merly  wont  to  approach  hiiTi;  {v.  34,  35.)  "Beside 
the  distance  which  I  am  kept  at  by  his  infinite 
transcendency,  his  present  dealings  with  me  are 
very  discouraging.  LcC  him  take  his  rod  away  frovi 
me:"  he  me.\ns  not  so  much  his  outward  afflictions, 
as  the  loud  which  lay  upon  his  spirit  from  the  ap- 
prehensions of  (iod's  wrath;  tiuit  was  his  fear  which 
terrified  liim:  "  Let  that  be  lemovcd,  let  me  reco- 
ver the  sight  of  his  mercy,  and  not  be  amazed  with 
the  sight  of  nothing  but  his  terrors,  and  then  I  would 
speak,  and  order  my  cause  before  him.  But  it  is 
not  so  with  me,  the  cloud  does  not  at  all  scatter, 
the  wrath  of  God  still  fastens  upon  me,  and  preys 
on  my  spirits,  as  much  as  ever;  and  what  to  do  I 
kno,w  not." 

From  all  this  let  us  take  occasion,  [1.]  To  stand 
in  awe  of  God,  and  to  fear  the  power  of  his  wrath. 
If  ^ood  men  hive  been  put  into  such  consternation 
by  it,  nuhere  shall  the  zingodly  and  the  aimier  afi- 
fieur?  [2.]  To  pity  th<jse  that  are  wounded  in 
spirit,  and  pray  earnestly  for  them,  because  in  that 
condition  they  know  not  how  to  pray  for  themselves. 
[3.]  Carefully  to  keep  up  good  thoughts  of  God  in 
our  minds,  for  hard  thoughts  of  him  are  the  inlets 
of  much  mischief.  [4.]  To  bless  God  that  we  are 
not  in  such  a  disconsolate  condition  as  poor  Job  was 
here  in,  but  that  we  walk  in  the  light  of  the  Lord; 
let  us  rejoice  therein,  but  rejoice  with  trejiibling. 

CHAP.  X. 

Job  owns  here  that  he  was  full  of  confusion;  (v.  15.)  and 
as  he  was,  so  was  his  discourse:  he  knew  not  what  to 
say,  and'  perhaps  sometimes  scarcely  knew  what  he  said. 
In  this  chapter,  I.  He  complains  of  the  hardships  he  was 
under;  (v.  1  . .  7.)  and  then  comforts  himself  with  this, 
that  he  was  in  the  hand  of  the  God  that  made  him,  and 
pleads  that,  v.  8 .  .  13.  II.  He  complains  again  of  the 
severity  of  God's  dealings  with  him,  (v.  14.  .  17.)  and 
then  comforts  himself  with  this,  that  death  would  put  an 
end  to  his  troubles,  v.  18  .  .  22. 

1 . 1%/rY  soul  is  weary  of  my  life  :  I  will 
XTJL  leave  my  complaint  upon  myself; 
I  will  speak  in  the  bitterness  of  my  soul.  2. 
I  will  say  unto  God,  Do  not  condemn  me ; 
show  me  wherefore  thou  contendest  with 
me.  3.  Is  it  good  unto  thee  that  thou 
shouldest  oppress,  that  thou  shouldest  de- 
spise the  work  of  thy  hands,  and  shine  upon 
the  counsel  of  the  wicked?  4.  Hast  thou 
eyes  of  flesh?  or  seest  thou  as  man  seeth? 
5,  Are  thy  days  as  the  days  of  man?  are 
thy  years  as  man's  days?  6.  That  thou 
inquirest  after  mine  iniquity,  and  searchest 
after  my  sin?  7.  Thou  knowest  that  I  am 
not  wicked  ;  and  there  is  none  that  can  de- 
liver out  of  thy  hand. 

Here  is, 

I.  A  passionate  resolution  to  persist  in  his  com- 
plaint, V.  1.  Being  daunted  vvith  the  dread  of  God's 
majesty,  so  that  he  could  not  plead  his  cause  with 
him,  he  resolves  to  give  himself  some  ease  by  giving 
vent  to  his  resentments.  He  begins  with  vehement 
language,  "  Aly  soul  is  weary  of  my  life,  weary  of 
this  body,  and  impatient  to  get  clear  of  it,  fallen  out 
with  life,  and  displeased  at  it,  sick  of  it,  and  longing 
for  death."    Through  the  weakness  of  grace,  he 


Went  contrary  to  the  dictates  even  of  nature  itself 
\\'e  slKHild  act  more  like  men,  did  we  act  more 
like  sdin:s:  faith  and  patience  would  keep  us  from 
being  weary  of  our  li\es,  (and  cruel  to  them,  as 
some  I'cad  it,)  even  then  when  Providence  has 
made  them  niost  wearisome  to  us;  for  that  is  to  be 
weary  of  (iod's  correction.  Job,  being  weary  of  his 
life,  and  having  ease  no  other  way,  resolves  to  coir,- 
plain,  resoh  es  to  speak:  he  will  not  give  vent  to  his 
soul  by  violent  hands,  but  he  will  give  vent  to  the 
bitterness  of  his  soul  by  \iolent  words.  Losers 
think  they  may  have  leave  to  speak;  and  unbi  idled 
passions,  as  well  as  unbridled  appetites,  are  apt  to 
think  it  an  excuse  for  their  excursions,  that  they 
cannot  help  it;  but  what  have  we  wisdom  and  grace 
for,  but  to  keep  the  mouth  as  with  a  bridle.^  Job's 
corruption  speaks  here,  yet  grace  puts  in  a  word: 
1.  He  will  complain,  but  he  will  leave  his  com- 
jjlaint  upon  himself:  he  would  not  impeach  God, 
nor  charge  him  with  unrighteousness  or  unkindness; 
but,  though  he  knew  not  particularly  the  ground  ct 
God's  controversy  with  him,  and  the  cause  of  ac- 
tion, yet,  in  the  general,  he  would  suppc'se  it  to  be 
in  himself,  and  willingly  bear  all  the  blame.  2.  He 
will  speak,  but  it  shall  be  the  bitterness  of  his  soul 
that  he  will  express,  not  his  settled  judgment.  If 
I  speak  amiss,  it  is  not  1,  but  sin  that  dwells  in  me. 
not  my  soul,  but  its  bitterness. 

U.  A  humble  petition  to  God.  He  will  speak, 
but  tlie  first  word  shall  be  a  prayer,  and,  as  I  am 
willing  to  understand  it,  it  is  a  good  prayer,  v.  2. 
1.  That  he  might  be  delivered  from  the  sting  of  his 
afflictions,  which  is  sin;  "Do  not  condemn  me,  do 
not  separate  me  for  ever  from  thee.  Though  I  lie 
under  the  cross,  let  me  not  lie  under  the  curse; 
though  I  smart  by  the  rod  of  a  Father,  let  me  not 
be  cut  off  by  the  sword  of  a  Judge.  Thou  dost  cor- 
rect me,  I  will  bear  that  as  well  as  I  can,  but  O  do 
not  condemn  me!"  It  is  the  comfort  of  those  who 
are  in  Christ  Jesus,  that,  though  they  are  in  afflic- 
tion, there  is  no  condemnation  to  them,  Rom.  viii. 
1.  Nay,  they  are  chastened  of  the  Lord,  that  they 
may  not  be  co7idemned  with  the  world,  1  Cor.  xi. 
32.  This,  therefore,  we  should  deprecate  above 
any  thing  else,  when  we  are  in  affliction;  "How- 
ever thou  art  pleased  to  deal  with  me.  Lord,  do  not 
condemn  me;  my  friends  condemn  me,  but  do  not 
thou. "  2.  That  he  might  be  made  acquainted  with 
the  true  cause  of  his  afflictions,  and  that  is  sin  too; 
Lord,  shovj  me  wherefore  thou  contendest  with  me. 
When  God  afflicts  us,  he  contends  with  us;  when  he 
contends  with  us,  there  is  always  a  reason.  He  is 
never  angry  without  a  cause,  though  we  are,  and  it 
is  desirable  to  know  what  the  reason  is,  that  we  may 
repent  of,  nv  rtify,  and  forsake,  the  sin  for  which 
God  has  a  controversy  with  us:  in  inquiring  it  out, 
let  conscience  have  leave  to  do  its  office,  and  to  deal 
faithfully  with  us,  as  Gen.  xlii.  21. 

III.  A  peevish  expostulation  with  God  concern- 
ing his  dealings  with  him.  Now  he  speaks  in  the 
bitterness  of  his  soul  indeed,  not  without  some  ill- 
natured  reflections  upon  the  righteousness  of  his 
God. 

1.  He  thinks  it  unbecoming  the  goodness  of  God, 
and  the  mercifulness  of  his  nature,  to  deal  so  hardlv 
with  his  creature,  as  to  lay  upon  him  more  than  he 
can  bear;  (i-.  3.)  Js  it  good  unto  thee  that  thou 
shouldest  oppress?  No,  certainly  it  is  not;  what  he 
approves  not  in  men,  (Lam.  iii,  34.. 36.)  he  will  not 
do  himself.  '*  Lord,  in  dealing  with  me,  thou  secm- 
est  to  oppress  thy  subject,  to  despise  thy  workman- 
ship, and  to  countenance  thine  enemies.  Now, 
Lprd,  what  is  the  meaning  of  this.'*  Such  is  thy  na- 
ture, that  this  cannot  be  a  pleasure  to  thee;  and 
such  is  thy  name,  that  it  cannot  be  an  hrnour  to 
thee;  why  then  dealest  thou  thus  with  me?  What 
*}r'Jlt  is  there  in  my  blood?"  Far  be  it  from  Job  tc 


56 


JOB,  X. 


think  that  God  did  him  wrong,  but  he  is  quite  at  a 
loss  how  to  reconcile  his  providences  with  his  jus- 
tice, as  good  men  have  often  been,  and  must  wait 
until  the  day  shall  declare  it.  Let  us,  therefore, 
now  hai'bour  no  hard  thoughts  of  God,  because  we 
shall  then  see  there  was  no  cause  for  them. 

2.  He  thinks  it  unbecoming  the  infinite  know- 
ledge of  God  to  put  a  prisoner  thus  upon  the  rack, 
as  it  were,  by  torture,  to  extort  a  confession  from 
him,  V.  4«»6. 

(1.)  He  is  sure  that  God  does  not  discover  things, 
nor  judge  of  them,  as  men  do;  he  has  not  eyes  of 
Jlesh,  {-v.  4. )  for  he  is  a  Spirit.  Eyes  of  flesh  can- 
not see  in  the  dark,  but  darkness  hides  not  from 
God.  Eyes  of  flesh  are  but  in  one  place  at  a  time, 
and  can  see  but  a  little  way;  but  the  eyes  of  the 
Lord  are  in  every  filace,  and  run  to  and  fro 
through  the  whole  earth.  Many  things  are  hid 
from  eyes  of  flesh,  the  most  curious  and  piercing; 
there  is  a  fxath  which  even  the  vulture's  eye  hath  not 
seen:  but  nothing  is,  or  can  be,  hid  from  the  eye  of 
God,  to  which  all  things  are  naked  and  open.  Eyes 
of  flesh  see  the  outward  appearance  only,  and  may 
be  imposed  upon,  a  decefitio  visus — an  illusion  of  the 
senses;  but  God  sees  every  thing  truly;  his  sight 
cannot  be  deceived,  for  he  tries  the  heart,  and  is  a 
Witness  to  the  thoughts  and  intents  of  that.  Eyes 
of  flesh  discover  things  gradually,  and  when  we 
gain  the  sight  of  one  thing,  we  lose  the  sight  of  an- 
other, but  God  sees  every  thing  at  one  view.  Eyes 
of  flesh  are  soon  tired,  must  be  closed  e\  ery  night, 
that  they  may  be  refreshed,  and  will  shortly  be 
darkened  by  age,  and  shut  up  by  death,  but  the 
Keeper  of  Israel  neither  slumbers  nor  sleeps,  nor 
does  his  sight  ever  decay.  God  sees  not  as  man  sees; 
that  is,  he  does  not  judge  as  man  judges,  at  the  best 
secundum  allegata  et  probata — according  to  what 
.is  alleged  and  proved,  as  the  thing  appears,  rather 
than  as  it  is,  and  too  often  according  to  the  bias  of 
the  affections,  passions,  prejudices,  and  interest; 
but  we  are  sure  that  the  judgment  of  God  is  accord- 
ing to  truth,  and  that  he  knows  truth,  not  by  infor- 
mation, but  by  his  own  inspection.  Men  discover 
secret  things  by  search,  and  examination  of  wit- 
nesses, comparing  evidence  and  giving  conjectures 
upon  it,  wheedling  or  forcing  the  parties  concerned 
to  confess.  But  God  needs  not  any  of  these  ways  of 
discovery,  he  sees  not  as  man  sees. 

(2.)  He  is  sure  that,  as  God  is  not  short-sighted, 
like  man,  so  he  is  not  short-lived ;  (v.  5. )  "  jire  thy 
days  as  the  days  of  man,  few  and  evil?  Do  they  roil 
onin  succession,  or  are  they  subject  to  change,  like 
the  days  of  man?  No,  by  no  means."  Men  grow 
wiser  by  experience,  and  more  knowing  by  daily 
observation;  with  them,  truth  is  the  daughter  oiF 
time,  and  therefore  they  must  take  time  for  their 
searches,  and,  if  one  experiment  fail,  must  try 
another;  but  it  is  not  so  with  God,  to  him  nothing 
is  past,  nothing  future,  but  every  thing  present. 
The  days  of  time,  by  which  the  life  of  man  is  mea- 
sured, are  nothing  to  the  years  of  eternity,  in  which 
the  life  of  God  is  wrapt  up. 

(3.)  He  therefore  thinks  it  strange  that  God 
should  thus  prolong  his  torture,  and  continue  him 
under  the  confinement  of  this  affliction,  and  neither 
bring  him  to  a  trial,  nor  grant  him  a  release:  as  if 
he  must  take  time  to  inquire  after  his  iniquity,  and 
use  means  to  search  after  his  sin,  v.  6.  Not  as  if 
.Tob  thought  that  God  did  thus  torment  him,  that 
he  might  find  occasion  against  him;  but  his  dealings 
with  him  had  such  an  aspect,  which  was  disho- 
nourable to  God,  and  would  tempt  men  to  think 
him  a  hard  master.  *•  Now,  Lord,  if  thou  wilt  not 
consult  my  comfort,  consult  thine  own  honour;  do 
something  for  thy  ^reat  name,  and  do  not  disgrace 
the  throne  of  thy' glory,'"  Jer.  xiv.  21. 
3.  He  thinks  it  looked  like  an  abuse  of  his  omni- 


potence, to  keep  a  poor  pi  isoner  in  custody,  whom 
he  knew  to  be  innocent,  only  because  there  was 
none  that  could  deliver  him  out  of  his  hand;  {y.  7. ) 
Thou  knowest  that  I  am  not  wicked.  He  had  al- 
ready owned  himself  a  sinner,  and  guilty  before 
God,  but  he  here  stands  to  it,  that  he  was  ni  t 
wicked,  not  devoted  to  sin,  not  an  enemy  to  God, 
not  a  dissembler  in  his  religion,  that  fie  had  not 
wickedly  departed  from  his  God,  Ps.  xviii.  21. 
''But  there  is  none  that  can  deliver  out  of  thy  hand, 
and  therefore  there  is  no  remedy;  I  must  be  con- 
tent to  lie  there,  waiting  thy  time,  and  throwing 
myself  on  thy  mercy,  in  submission  to  thy  sovereign 
will."  Here  see,  (1.)  What  ought  to  quiet  us  un- 
der our  troubles;  that  it  is  to  no  purpose  to  contend 
with  Omnipotence.  (2.)  What  will  abundantly 
comfort  us,  if  we  are  able  to  appeal  to  God,  as  Job 
here,  "  Lord,  thou  knowest  that  I  am  not  wicked. 
I  cannot  say  that  I  am  not  wanting,  or  I  am  not 
weak;  but,  through  grace,  I  can  say,  /  am  not 
wickrd:  thou  knowest  I  am  not,  for  thou  knowest  I 
love  thee." 

8.  Thy  hands  have  made  me,  and  fashion- 
ed me  together  round  about ;  yet  thou  dost 
destroy  me.  9.  Remember,  I  beseech  thee, 
that  thou  hast  made  me  as  the  clay ;  and 
wilt  thou  bring  me  into  dust  again  ?  1 0. 
Hast  thou  not  poured  me  out  as  milk,  and 
curdled  me  like  cheese?  11.  Thou  hast 
clothed  me  with  skin  and  flesh,  and  hast 
fenced  me  with  bones  and  sinews.  12. 
Thou  hast  granted  me  life  and  favour,  and 
thy  visitation  hath  preserved  my  spirit.  13. 
And  these  things  hast  thou  hid  in  thy  heart: 
I  know  that  this  is  with  thee. 

In  these  verses,  we  may  observe, 

1.  How  Job  eyes  God  as  his  Creator  and  Preser- 
ver, and  describes  his  dependence  upon  him  as  the 
Author  and  Upholder  of  his  being.  This  is  one  of 
the  first  things  we  are  all  concerned  to  know  and 
consider. 

(1.)  That  God  made  us:  he,  and  not  our  parents, 
who  were  only  the  instruments  of  his  power  and 
providence  in  our  production.  He  made  us,  and  not 
we  ourselves.  His  hands  have  made  and  fashioned 
these  bodies  of  ours,  and  e\  ery  part  of  them ;  {v.  8. ) 
and  they  are  fearfully  and  wonderfully  made. 
The  soul  also,  which  animates  the  body,  is  his  gift. 
He  takes  notice  of  both  here.  [1.]  The  body  is 
made  as  the  clay,  {jk  9.)  cast  into  shape,  into  this 
shape,  as  the  clay  is  formed  into  a  vessel,  accord- 
ing to  the  skill  and  will  of  the  potter.  We  are 
earthen  vessels:  mean  in  our  original,  and  soon 
broken  in  pieces,  made  as  the  clay;  let  not,  there- 
fore, the  tlmig  formed  say  unto  him  that  formed  it. 
Why  hast  thou  made  me  thus?  We  must  not  be 
proud  of  our  bodies,  because  the  matter  is  from  the 
earth,  yet  not  dishonour  our  bodies,  bec:iuse  the 
mould  and  shape  are  from  the  Divine  Wisdom. 
The  formation  of  human  bodies  in  the  womb  is 
described  by  an  elegant  similitude,  (t'.  10.)  Thou 
hast  floured  me  out  like  milk,  which  is  coagulated 
into  cheese;  and  by  an  induction  of  some  particu- 
lars, {v.  11.)  Though  we  come  into  the  world 
naked,  yet  the  body  is  itself  both  clothed  and  arm- 
ed; the  skin  and  flesh  are  its  cUnhing;  the  bones 
and  sinews  are  its  armour,  not  offensive,  but  defen- 
sive. The  vital  parts,  the  heart  and  lungs,  are  thus 
clothed,  not  to  be  seen;  thus  fenced,  not  to  be  hurt. 
The  admirable  structure  of  human  bodies  is  an  il- 
lustrious instance  of  the  wisdom,  power,  and  good- 
ness, of  the  Creator.     What  pity  is  it  that  these 


bodies  should  be  instruments  of  unrighteousness, 
which  are  capable  of  being  temples  of  the  Holy 
Ghost!  [2.]  The  soul  is  the  life,  the  soul  is  the 
man,  and  this  is  the  gift  of  God;  Thou  hast  grant- 
ed me  life,  breathed  into  me  the  breath  of  life, 
without  which  the  body  would  be  but  a  worth- 
less carcase.  God  is  the  Father  of  spirits:  he 
made  us  living  souls,  and  endued  us  with  the  pow- 
ers of  reason;  he  gave  us  life  and  favour;  and  life  is 
a  favour,  a  great  favour,  more  than  meat,  more  than 
raiment;  a  distinguishing  favour,  a  favour  that  puts 
us  into  a  capacity  of  receiving  other  favour.  Now 
Job  was  in  a  better  mind  tha;\  he  was  when  he 
quarrelled  with  life  as  a  burthen,  and  asked,  Why 
died  I  not  from  the  ivomb?  Or,  by  life  and  favour 
may  be  meant  life  and  all  the  comforts  of  life,  re- 
ferring to  his  former  prosperity.  Time  was,  when 
he  walked  in  the  light  of  the  divine  favour,  and 
thought,  as  David,  that  through  that  favour  his 
mountain  stood  strong. 

(2.)  That  God  maintains  us:  having  lighted  the 
lamp  of  life,  he  does  not  leave  it  to  burn  upon  its 
own  stock,  but  continually  supplies  it  with  fresh 
oil;  "  Thy  visitation  has  preserved  my  sfiirit,  kept 
me  alive,  protected  me  from  the  adversaries  of  life, 
the  death  we  are  in  the  midst  of,  and  the  dangers 
we  are  continually  exposed  to;  and  blessed  me  with 
all  the  necessary  supports  of  life,  and  the  daily  sup- 
plies it  needs  and  craves." 

2.  How  he  pleads  this  with  God,  and  what  use 
he  makes  of  it.  He  reminds  God  of  it;  {v.  9. )  lie- 
member,  I  beseech  thee,  that  thou  hast  made  me. 
What  then? 

(1.)  "Thou  hast  made  me,  and  therefore  thou 
nast  a  perfect  knowledge  of  me,  (Ps.  cxxxix.  l.«13.) 
and  needest  not  to  examine  me  by  scourging,  nor  to 
put  me  upon  the  rack  for  the  discovering  of  what 
is  within  me." 

(2. )  "  Thou  hast  made  me,  as  the  clay,  by  an  act 
of  sovereignty;  and  wilt  thou,  by  a  like  act  of  sove- 
reignty, unmake  me  again?  If  so,  I  must  submit." 

(3.)  "  Wilt  thou  destroy  the  work  of  thine  own 
hands?"  It  is  a  plea  the  saints  have  often  used  in 

f)rayer;  IVe  are  the  clay,  and  thou  our  potter,  Isa. 
xiv.  8.  Thy  hands  'have  made  me  and  fashioned 
me,  Ps.  cxix.  73.  So  here.  Thou  madest  me;  and 
wilt  thou  destroy  me?  v.  8.  Wilt  thou  bring  me 
into  dust  again?"  v.  9.  "Wilt  thou  not  pity  me? 
Wilt  thou  not  spare  and  help  me,  and  stand  by  the 
work  of  thine  own  hands?  Ps.  cxxxviii.  8.  Thou 
madest  me,  and  knowest  my  strength;  wilt  thou 
then  suffer  me  to  be  pressed  above  measure?  Was 
I  made  to  be  made  miserable?  Was  I  preserved 
only  to  endure  these  calamities?"  If  we  plead  this 
with  ourselves  as  an  inducement  to  duty,  "God 
made  me  and  maintains  me,  and  therefore  I  will 
serve  him  and  submit  to  him,"  we  may  plead  it 
with  God  as  an  argument  for  mercy.  Thou  hast 
made  tne,  new  make  me;  /  am  thine,  save  me. 
Job  knew  not  how  to  reconcile  God's  former  fa- 
vours and  his  present  frowns,  but  concludes,  (xi.  13. ) 
"  T/ese  things  hast  thou  hid  i?i  thine  heart;  both 
are  according  to  the  counsel  of  thine  own  will,  and, 
therefore,  undoubtedly  consistent,  howe\er  they 
seem."  When  God  thus  strangely  changes  his  way, 
though  we  cannot  account  for  it,  we  are  bound  to 
believe  there  are  good  reasons  for  it  hid  in  his 
heart,  which  will  be  manifested  shortly.  It  is  not 
with  us,  or  in  our  leach,  to  assign  the  cause,  but  I 
know  that  this  is  with  thee.  Known  unto  God  are  all 
his  works. 

14.  If  I  sin,  then  thou  markest  me,  and 
thou  wilt  not  acquit  me  from  mine  iniquity. 
15.  If  I  be  wicked,  wo  unto  me;  and  if  I 
be  righteous,  ijet  will  I  not  lift  up  my  head. 

Vol.  iii.-H 


JOB,  X.  57 

I  am  full  of  confusion ;  therefore  see  thou 
mine  affliction;  16.  For  it  increaseth. 
Thou  huntest  me  as  a  fierce  lion ;  and 
again  thou  showest  thyself  marvellous 
upon  nfie.  17.  Thou  renewest  thy  witness- 
es against  me,  and  increasest  thine  indig- 
nation upon  me ;  changes  and  war  are 
against  me.  1 8.  Wherefore  then  hast  thou 
brought  me  forth  out  of  the  womb?  Oh  that 
I  had  given  up  the  ghost,  and  no  eye  had 
seen  me  !  1 9.  1  should  have  been  as  though 
I  had  not  been  ;  I  should  have  been  carried 
from  the  womb  to  the  grave.  20.  Are  not 
my  days  few  ?  cease  the?!,  and  let  me  alone, 
that  I  may  take  comfort  a  little,  21.  Be- 
fore I  go  iohence  I  shall  not  return,  even  to 
the  land  of  darkness  and  the  shadow  of 
death;  22.  A  land  of  darkness,  as  darkness 
itself:  and  of  the  shadow  of  death,  without 
any  order,  and  lohe.re  the  light  is  as  darkness. 

Here  we  have, 

I.  Job's  passionate  complaints.  On  that  harsh 
and  unpleasant  string  he  harps  much,  in  which, 
thougli  he  cannot  be  justified,  he  may  be  excused. 
He  complained  not  for  nothing,  as  the  murmuring 
Israelites,  but  had  cause  to  complain.  If  we  think 
it  looks  ill  in  him,  let  it  be  a  warning  to  us  to  keep 
our  temper  better. 

1.  He  complains  of  the  strictness  of  God's  judg- 
ment, and  the  rigour  of  his  proceedings  against 
him,  and  is  ready  to  call  it  Summu?n  Jus — Justice 
bordering  on  severity.  (1.)  That  he  took  all  ad 
vantages  against  him";  "  If  I  sin,  then  thou  markest 
me;  {v.  14.)  if  I  do  but  take  one  false  step,  mis- 
place a  word,  or  cast  a  look  awry,  I  shall  be  sure  to 
hear  of  it.  Conscience,  thy  deputy,  will  be  sure  to 
upbraid  me  with  it,  and  to  tell  me,  that  this  gripe, 
this  twitch  of  pain,  is  to  punish  me  for  that."  It 
God  should  thus  mark  iniquities,  we  are  undone; 
but  he  does  not  thus  mark  them;  though  we  sin, 
God  does  not  deal  in  extremity  with  us.  (2.)  That 
he  prosecuted  those  advantages  to  the  utmost; 
Thou  wilt  not  acquit  me  from  mine  iniquity.  While 
his  troubles  continued,  he  could  not  take  the  com- 
fort of  his  pardon,  nor  hear  that  \'oice  of  joy  and 
gladness;  so  hard  is  it  to  see  love  in  God's  heart, 
when  we  see  frowns  in  his  face,  and  a  rod  in  his 
hand.  (3.)  That,  whatever  was  his  character,  h's 
case,  at  present,  was  very  uncomfortable,  v.  15. 
[1.]  If  he  be  wicked,  he  is  certainly  undone  in  the 
other  world;  If  I  be  wicked,  woe  to  me.  Note,  A 
sinful  state  is  a  woeful  state.  This  we  should  each 
of  us  believe,  as  Job  here,  with  application  to  our- 
selves; "  If  I  be  wicked,  though  prospei-ous,  and 
living  in  pleasure,  yet  woe  to  me."  Some  especially 
have  reason  to  dread  double  woes  if  they  be  wicked; 
"I  that  have  knowledge,  that  have  made  a  great 
profession  of  religion,  that  have  been  so  often  under 
strong  convictions,  and  have  made  so  many  fair 
promises;  I  that  was  born  of  such  good  parents, 
blessed  with  a  good  education,  that  have  lived  in 
good  f  imilies,  and  long  enjoyed  the  means  of  grace, 
If  I  be  nvicked,  woe,  and  a  thousand  woes,  to  me." 
[2.]  If  he  be  righteous,  yet  he  dares  not  lift  up  his 
head;  dares  not  answer  as  before,  ch.  ix.  15.  He  is 
so  oppressed  and  overwhelmed  with  his  troubles, 
that  he  cannot  look  u]i  with  any  comfort  or  confi- 
dence. Without  were  fightings,  within  were  fears; 
so  that,  between  both,  he  was  full  of  confusion:  not 
only  confusion  of  face,  for  the  disgrace  he  was 
brought  down  to,  and  the  censures  of  his  friends. 


58 


OB,  X. 


but  confusion  of  spirit;  his  mind  was  in  a  constant 
hurry,  and  he  was  almost  distracted,  Ps.  Ixxxviii. 
15. 

2.  He  complains  of  the  severity  of  the  execution. 
God  (he  thought)  did  not  only  punish  him  for  every 
failui'e,  but  punish  him  in  a  high  degree,  v.  16,  17. 
His  affliction  was,  (1.)  Grievous,  very  grievous, 
marvellous,  exceeding  marvellous.  God  hunted 
him  as  a  lion,  as  a  fierce  lion  hunts  and  inins  down 
his  prey.  God  was  not  only  strange  to  him,  but 
showed  himself  marvellous  upon  him,  by  bringing 
him  into  uncommon  troubles,  and  so  making  him  a 
prodigy,  a  wonder  unto  many.  All  wondered  that 
God  would  inflict,  and  that  Job  could  bear,  so  much. 
That  which  made  his  afflictions  most  grievous,  was, 
that  he  felt  God's  indignation  in  them;  that  was 
it  that  made  them  taste  so  bitter,  and  lie  so  heavy. 
They  were  God's  witnesses  against  him,  tokens  of 
his  displeasure;  this  made  the  sores  of  his  body 
wounds  in  his  spirit.  (2.)  It  was  growing,  still 
growing,  worse  and  worse.  This  he  insists  much 
upon;  when  he  hoped  the  tide  would  turn,  and  be- 
gin to  ebb,  still  it  flowed  higher  and  higher.  His 
affliction  increased,  and  God's  indignation  in  the 
iffliction;  he  found  himself  no  way  better;  these 
witnesses  were  renewed  against  him,  that,  if  one 
did  not  reach  to  convict  him,  another  might. 
Changes  and  war  were  against  him.  If  there  was 
any  change  with  him,  it. was  not  for  the  better; 
still  he  was  kept  in  a  state  of  war.  As  long  as  we 
are  here  in  this  world,  we  must  expect  that  the 
clouds  will  return  after  the  rain,  and  perhaps  the 
sorest  and  sharpest  trials  may  be  reserved  for  the 
Jast.  God  was  at  war  with  him,  and  it  was  a  great 
change.  He  did  not  use  to  be  so,  which  aggravated 
the  trouble,  and  made  it  truly  marvellous.  God 
usually  shows  himself  kind  to  his  people;  if  at  any 
time  he  shows  himself  otherwise,  it  is  his  strange 
work,  his  strange  act,  and  he  doth  in  it  show  him- 
self marvellous. 

3.  He  complains  of  his  life,  and  that  ever  he  was 
born  to  all  this  trouble  and  misery;  {v.  18,  19.) 
"  If  this  was  designed  for  my  lot,  why  was  I 
brought  out  of  the  womb,  and  not  smothered  there, 
or  stifled  in  the  birth?"  This  was  the  language  of 
his  passion,  and  it  was  a  relapse  into  the  sin  he  fell 
into  before.  He  had  just  now  called  life  a  favour, 
\y.  12.^  yet  now  he  calls  it  a  burthen,  and  quarrels 
with  God  for  giving  it,  or  rather  laying  it  upon 
him.  Mr.  Caryl  gives  this  a  good  turn  in  favour 
of  Job.  "  We  may  charitably  suppose,"  (says  he,) 
'•  that  that  which  troubled  Job  was,  that  he  was  in 
a  condition  of  life  which  (as  he  conceived)  hindered 
the  main  end  of  ,,is  life,  which  was  the  glorifying  God. 
His  harp  was  hung  on  the  willow-trees,  and  he  was 
quite  out  of  tune  for  praising  God.  Nay,  he  feared 
lest  his  troubles  should  reflect  dishonour  upon  God, 
and  give  occasion  to  his  enemies  to  blaspheme;  and, 
therefore,  he  wishes,  O  that  I  had  given  ufi  the 
ghost!  A  godly  man  reckons  that  he  lives  to  no 
purpose,  if  he  do  not  live  to  the  praise  and  glory  of 
God."  But,  if  that  had  been  his  meaning,  it  was 
grounded  on  a  mistake,  for  we  may  glorify  the 
Lord  in  the  fires.  But  this  use  we  may  make  of  it, 
not  to  be  over-fond  of  life,  since  the  case  has  been 
such,  sometimes,  even  with  wise  and  good  men, 
that  they  have  complained  of  it.  Why  should  we 
dread  giving  up  the  ghost,  or  covet  to  be  seen  of 
men,  since  the  time  may  come,  when  we  may  be 
ready  to  wish  we  had  given  up  the  ghost,  and  no 
eye  had  seen  us?  Why  should  we  inordinately 
lament  the  death  of  our  children  in  their  infancy, 
that  arc  as  if  they  liad  not  been,  and  are  carried 
from  the  womb  to  the  grave,  when  pei  haps  we  our- 
fet-lvps  miv  sometimes  wish  it  h^d  been  our  own  lot? 

II    Jnl)'s  humble  requests.     He  prays, 

J    That  God  would  see  f-'s  afflictio7i,{v.  15.)  take 


cognizance  of  his  case,  and  take  it  into  his  compas- 
sionate consideration.  Thus  David  prays,  (Fs.  xxv. 
18. )  Look  upon  mine  afflictions  and  my  /iai?i.  Thus 
we  should,  hi  our  troubles,  refer  ourselves  to  God, 
and  may  comfort  ourselves  with  this,  that  he  knows 
our  souls  in  adversity. 

2.  That  God  would  grant  him  some  ease.  If  he 
could  not  prevail  for  the  removal  of  his  troubles, 
yet  might  he  not  have  some  intermission?  "Lord, 
let  me  not  be  always  upon  the  rack,  always  in  ex- 
tremity; 0  let  me  alone,  that  I  may  take  comfort  a 
little!  V.  20.  Grant  me  some  respite,  some  breath- 
ing time,  some  little  enjoyment  of  myself."  This 
he  would  reckon  a  great  favour.  Those  that  are 
not  duly  thankful  for  constant  ease,  should  think 
how  welcome  one  hour's  ease  would  be,  if  they 
were  in  constant  pain.     Two  things  he  pleads; 

(1.)  That  life  and  its  light  were  very  short;  "Are 
not  my  days  few?  v.  20.  Yes,  certainly,  they  are 
very  tew;  Lord,  let  them  not  be  all  miserable,  all 
in  the  extremity  of  miseiy.  I  have  but  a  little  time 
to  live,  let  me  have  some  comfort  of  life  while  it 
does  last."  This  plea  fastens  on  the  goodness  of 
God's  nature,  the  consideration  of  which  is  very 
comfortable  to  an  afflicted  spirit.  And  if  we  would 
use  this  as  a  plea  with  God  for  mercy,  "  Are  not 
my  days  ftwf  Lord,  pity  me;"  we  should  use  it  as 
a  plea  with  ourselves,  to  quicken  us  to  duty.  "  Are 
not  my  days  few?  Then  it  concerns  me  to  redeem 
time,  to  improve  opportunities;  what  my  hand 
finds  to  do,  to  do  it  with  all  my  might,  that  I  may 
be  ready  for  the  days  of  eternity,  which  shall  be 
many. " 

(2. )  That  death  and  its  darkness  were  very  near, 
and  would  be  very  long;  {v.  21,  22.)  "Lord,  give 
me  some  ease  before  I  die,"  that  is,  "lest  I  die,  of 
my  pain."  Thus  David  pleads,  (Ps.  xiii.  3. )  "  Lest 
I  sleep,  the  sleep  of  death,  and  then  it  will  be  too 
late  to  expect  relief;  for.  Wilt  thou  show  wonders 
to  the  dead?  (Ps.  Ixxxviii.  10.)  Let  me  have  a 
little  comfort  before  I  die,  that  1  may  take  leave  of 
this  world  calmly,  and  not  in  such  confusion  as  I  am 
now  in."  Thus  earnest  should  we  be  for  grace,  and 
thus  should  we  plead;  "  Lord,  renew  me  in  the  in- 
ward man;  Lord,  sanctify  me  before  I  die,  for  then 
it  will  never  be  done. " 

See  how  he  speaks  here  of  the  state  of  the  dead. 

[1.]  It  is  a  fixed  state,  whence  we  shall  not  re- 
turn ever  again  to  live  such  a  life  as  we  now  live, 
ch.  vii.  10.  At  death,  we  must  bid  a  final  fareweK 
to  this  world.  The  body  must  then  be  laid  where 
it  will  lie  long,  and  the  soul  adjudged  to  that  state 
in  which  it  must  be  for  ever.  That  had  need  be 
well  done,  which  is  to  be  done  but  once,  and  done 
for  eternity. 

[2.]  It  is  a  very  melancholy  state;  so  it  appears 
to  us.  Holy  souls,  at  death,  remove  to  a  land  of 
light,  where  there  is  no  death;  but  their  bodies 
they  leave  to  a  land  of  darkness,  and  the  shadow 
of  death.  He  heaps  up  expressions  here  of  the 
same  import,  to  show  that  he  has  as  dreadful  ap- 
prehensions of  death  and  the  grave  as  other  men 
naturally  have,  so  that  it  was  only  the  extreme 
misery  he  was  in,  that  made  him  wish  for  it.  Come 
and  let  us  look  a  little  into  the  grave,  and  we  shall 
find.  First,  That  there  is  no  order  there;  it  is 
without  any  order;  perpetual  night,  and  no  succes- 
sion of  day.  All  there  lie  on  the  same  level,  and 
there  is  no  distinction  between  prince  and  pea- 
sant, but  the  servant  is  there  free  from  his  master, 
ch.  iii.  19.  No  order  is  observed  in  bringing  people 
to  the  grave,  not  the  eldest  first,  not  the  richest, 
not  the  poorest,  and  vet  every  one  in  his  own  order, 
the  order  appointed  by  the  God  of  life.  Secondly, 
That  there  is  no  light  there.  In  the  grave  there  's 
thick  darkness,  darkness  that  cannot  be  felt  indeed, 
yet  cannot  but  be  feaied  by  those  that  enjoy  thi. 


JOB,  XI. 


59 


light  of  life.  In  the  grave  there  is  no  knowledge, 
no  comfort,  no  joy,  no  praising  God,  no  working 
out  our  salvation,  and  therefore  no  light.  Job  was 
so  nmcli  ashamed  that  others  should  see  his  sores, 
and  so  much  afraid  to  see  them  himself,  that  the 
darkness  of  the  grave,  which  would  hide  them  and 
huddle  them  up,  would,  upon  that  account,  be  wel- 
come to  him.  Darkness  comes  upon  us,  and  there- 
fore let  us  walk  and  work  while  we  have  the  light 
with  us.  The  grave  being  a  land  of  darkness,  it  is 
well  we  are  carried  thither  with  our  eyes  closed, 
and  then  it  is  all  one.  The  grave  is  a  land  of  dark- 
ness to  man;  our  friends  that  are  gone  thither,  we 
reckon  remo\ed  into  darkness,  Ps.  Ixxxviii.  18. 
But  that  it  is  not  so  to  God,  will  appear  by  this, 
that  the  dust  of  the  bodies  of  the  saints,  though 
scattered,  though  mingled  with  other  dust,  will 
none  of  it  be  lost,  for  God's  eye  is  upon  every  grain 
of  it,  and  it  shall  be  forthcoming  in  the  great  day. 

CHAP.  XI. 

Poor  Job's  wounds  were  yet  bleeding,  his  sore  still  runs 
and  ceases  not,  but  none  of  his  friends  bring  him  any 
oil,  any  balm;  Zophar,  the  third,  pours  into  them  as 
much  vinegar  as  the  two  former  had  done.  I.  He  exhi- 
bits a  very  high  charge  against  Job,  as  proud  and  false 
in  justifying  himself,  v.  1  . .  4.  II.  He  appeals  to  God  for 
his  conviction,  and  begs  that  God  would  take  him  to 
task,  (v.  5.)  and  that  Job  might  be  made  sensible,  1.  Of 
God's  unerring  wisdom,  and  his  inviolable  justice,  v.  6. 
2.  Of  his  unsearchable  perfections,  v.  7  . .  9.  3.  Of  his 
incontestable  sovereignty,  and  uncontrollable  power,  v. 
10.  4.  Of  the  cognizance  he  takes  of  the  children  of 
men,  v.  11,  12.  III.  He  assures  him,  that,  upon  his  re- 
pentance and  reformatiouj  (v.  13, 14.)  God  would  restore 
him  to  his  former  prosperity  and  safety;  (v.  15..  19.)  but 
that  if  he  were  wicked,  it  was  in  vain  to  expect  it,  v.  20. 

I.  nnHEN  answered  Zophar  the  Naama- 
JL  thite,  and  said,  2.  Should  not  the 
multitude  of  words  be  answered  ?  and 
should  a  man  full  of  talk  be  justified  ?  3. 
Should  thy  lies  make  men  h(Dld  their  peace  ? 
and  when  thou  mockest,  shall  no  man  make 
thee  ashamed  ?  4.  For  thou  hast  said,  My 
doctrine  is  pure,  and  I  am  clean  in  thine 
eyes.  5.  But  oh  that  God  would  speak, 
and  open  his  lips  against  thee;  6.  And 
that  he  would  show  thee  the  secrets  of  wis- 
dom, that  they  are  double  to  that  which  is  ! 
Know,  therefore,  that  God  exacteth  of  thee 
less  than  thine  iniquity  deserveth. 

It  is  sad  to  see  what  intemperate  passions  even 
wise  and  good  men  are  sometimes  betrayed  into  by 
the  heat  of  disputation;  of  which  Zophar  here  is 
an  instance.  Eliphaz  began  with  a  very  modest 
preface,  ch.  iv.  2.  Bildad  was  a  little  more  rough 
upon  Job,  ch.  viii.  2.  But  Zophar  falls  upon  him 
without  mercy,  and  gives  him  very  bad  language; 
Should  a  man  full  of  talk  be  justijied?  And  should 
thy  lies  make  men  hold  their  peace?  Is  this  the  way 
to  comfort  Job?  No,  nor  to  convince  him  neither. 
Does  this  become  one  that  appears  as  an  advocate 
for  God  and  his  justice?  Tantcene  animis  ccelestibus 
ir£? — In  heavenly  breasts  can  such  resentments 
dwell?  They  that  engage  in  controversy  will  find 
it  very  hard  to  keep  their  temper.  All  the  wisdom,  ^ 
caution,  and  resolution,  they  have,  will  be  little 
enough  to  prevent  their  breaking  out  into  such  in- 
decencies as  we  here  find  Zophar  guilty  of. 

1.  He  represents  Job  otherwise  than  what  he  was; 
(i'.  2,  3. )  he  would  have  him  thought  idle  and  imper- 
tinent in  his  discourse,  and  one  that  loved  to  hear 
himself  talk;  he  gives  him  the  lie,  and  calls  him  a 
mocker;  and  all  this,  that  it  might  be  looked  upon 


as  a  piece  of  justice  to  chastise  him.  Those  that 
have  a  mind  to  fall  out  with  their  brethren,  and  to 
fall  foul  upon  them,  find  it  necessary  to  put  the  worst 
colours  they  can  upon  them  and  their  performances, 
and,  right  or  wrong,  to  make  them  odious.  We 
have  read  and  considered  Job's  discourses  in  the 
foregoing  chapters,  and  have  found  them  full  of 
good   sense,  and  much  to  the  purpose;   that   his 

Erinciples  are  right,  his  reasonings  strong,  many  of 
is  expressions  weighty  and  very  considerable,  and 
that  what  there  is  in  them  of  heat  and  passion,  a 
little  candour  and  charity  will  excuse  and  overlook; 
yet  Zophar  here  invidiously  represents  him, 

(1.)  As  a  man  that  never  considered  what  he 
said,  but  uttered  what  came  uppermost,  only  to 
make  a  noise  with  the  multitude  of  words,  hoping 
by  that  means  to  carry  his  cause,  and  run  down  his 
reprovers.  Should  not  the  multitude  of  words  be 
answered?  Truly,  sometimes  it  is  no  great  matter 
whether  it  be  or  no;  silence  perhaps  is  the  best 
confutation  of  impertinence,  and  puts  the  greatest 
contempt  upon  it;  Answer  not  a  fool  according  to 
his  folly.  But,  if  it  be  answered,  let  reason  and 
grace  have  the  answering  of  it,  not  pride  and  pas- 
sion. Should  a  man  full  of  talk  (Marg.  a  man  of 
lifis,  that  is,  all  tongue,  vox  et  fireterea  nihil — mere 
voice,)  be  justified?  Should  he  be  justified  in  his 
loquacity,  as,  in  effect,  he  is,  if  he  be  not  reproved 
for  it?  No,  for  in  the  multitude  of  words  there 
wanteth  not  sin.  Should  he  be  justified  by  it?  Shall 
many  words  pass  for  valid  pleas?  Shall  he  carry 
the  day  with  the  flourishes  of  language?  No,  he 
shall  not  be  accepted  with  God,  or  any  wise  men, 
for  his  much  speaking,  Matth.  vi.  7. 

(2. )  As  a  man  that  made  no  conscience  of  Avhat 
he  said,  a  liar,  and  one  that  hoped,  by  the  impu- 
dence of  lies,  to  silence  his  adversaries;  (Should 
thy  lies  make  men  hold  their  fieace?)  a  mocker,  one 
that  bantered  all  mankind,  and  knew  how  to  put 
false  colours  upon  any  thing,  and  was  net  ashamed 
to  impose  upon  every  one  that  talked  with  him- 
JVhen  thou  mockest,  shall  no  man  make  thee  asham- 
ed? Is  it  not  time  to  speak,  to  stem  sucli  a  violent 
tide  as  this?  Job  was  not  mad,  but  spake  the  words 
of  truth  and  soberness,  and  yet  is  thus  misrepre- 
sented. Eliphaz  and  Bildad  had  answered  him, 
and  said  what  they  could  to  make  him  ashamed;  it 
was,  therefore,  no  instance  of  Zophar's  generosity, 
to  set  upon  a  man  so  violently,  who  was  already 
thus  harassed:  here  were  three  matched  against 
one. 

2.  He  charges  .Tnb  with  saying  that  which  he  had 
not  said;  (v.  4.)  Thou  hast  said.  My  dcctrine  is 
fiure.  And  what  if  he  had  said  so?  It  is  true  that 
Job  was  sound  in  the  faith,  and  orthodox  in  his 
judgment,  and  spake  better  of  God  than  his  friends 
did.  If  he  had  expressed  himself  unwarily,  yet  it 
did  not  therefore  follow  but  that  his  doctrine  was 
true;  but  he  charges  him  with  saying,  /  am  clean 
in  thine  eyes.  Job  had  not  said  so:  he  had,  indeed, 
said.  Thou  knowest  that  I  am  not  wicked;  {ch.  x. 
7. )  but  he  had  also  said,  /  have  sinned,  and  never 
pretended  to  a  spotless  perfection.  He  had,  indeed, 
maintained  that  he  was  not  a  hypocrite,  as  they 
charged  him;  but  to  infer  thence  that  he  would  not 
own  himself  a  sinner,  was  an  unfair  insinuation. 
We  pught  to  put  the  best  construction  on  the  words 
and  actions  of  our  brethren  that  they  will  bear;  but 
contenders  are  tempted  to  put  the  worst. 

3.  He  appeals  to  God,  and  wishes  him  to  appear 
against  Job.  So  very  confident  is  he  that  Job  is  in 
the  wrong,  that  nothing  will  serve  him  but  that 
God  must  immediately  appear  to  silence  and  con- 
demn him.  We  are  commonly  ready  with  too 
much  assurance  to  interest  God  in  our  quarrels,  and 
to  conclude  that  if  he  would  but  speak,  he  would 
take  our  part,  and  speak  for  us;  as  Zophar  here. 


60 


JOB,  XL 


0  that  God  -would  sjieak,  for  he  would  certainly 
ofitn  hin  lifis  against  thee;  whereas,  when  God  did 
5-pe:ili,  he  opened  his  lip3  for  Job  against  his  three 
friends.  We  ought  indeed  to  leave  all  controver- 
sies to  be  determined  by  the  judgment  of  God, 
which  we  are  sure  is  according  to  truth;  but  they 
are  not  always  in  the  right,  who  are  most  forward 
to  appeal  to  that  judgment,  and  prejudge  it  against 
their  antagonists. 

Zophar  despairs  to  convince  Job  himself,  and 
therefore  desires  God  would  convince  him  of  two 
things,  which  it  is  good  for  every  one  of  us  duly  to 
consider,  and  under  all  our  afflictions,  cheerfully 
to  confess. 

(1.)  The  unsearchable  depth  of  God's  counsels. 
Zophar  cannot  pretend  to  do  it,  but  he  desires  that 
God  himself  would  show  Job  so  much  of  the  secrets 
of  the  divine  wisdom,  as  might  convince  him  that 
they  are,  at  least,  double  to  that  which  is,  x;.  6. 
Note,  [1.]  There  are  secrets  in  the  divine  wisdom; 
arcana  im/ierii — state  secrets.  God's  way  is  in  the 
sea;  clouds  and  darkness  are  round  about  him;  he 
has  reasons  of  state  which  we  cannot  fathom,  and 
must  not  pry  into,  [2.]  What  we  know  of  God,  is 
nothing  to  what  we  cannot  know.  What  is  hid,  is 
more  than  double  to  what  appears,  Eph.  iii.  9.  [3.  ] 
By  employing  ourselves  in  adoring  the  depth  of 
those  divine  counsels  of  which  we  cannot  find  the 
bottom,  we  shall  very  much  tranquillize  our  minds 
under  the  afflicting  hand  of  God.  [4.  ]  God  knows 
a  great  deal  more  evil  of  us  than  we  do  of  ourselves; 
so  some  understand  it.  When  God  gave  David  a 
sight  and  sense  of  sin,  he  sa.id  that  he  had  in  the 
hidden  fiart  made  him  to  know  -wisdom,  Ps.  li.  6. 

(2.)  The  unexceptionable  justice  of  his  proceed- 
ings; "  Know,  therefore,  that  how  sore  soever  the 
correction  is,  that  thou  art  under,  God  exacteth  of 
thee  less  than  thine  iniquity  deserves:"  or,  as  some 
read  it,  "  He  remits  thee  part  of  thine  iniquity,  and 
does  not  deal  with  thee  according  to  the  full  deme- 
rit of  it."  Note,  [1.]  When  the  debt  of  duty  is 
not  paid,  it  is  justice  to  insist  upon  the  debt  of 
punishment.  [2.]  Whatever  punishment  is  inflict- 
ed upon  us  in  this  world,  we  must  own  that  it  is  less 
than  our  iniqiiities  deserve,  and  therefore,  instead 
of  complaining  of  our  troubles,  we  must  be  thank- 
ful that  we  are  out  of  hell,  Lam.  iii.  39.  Ps.  ciii.  10. 

7.  Canst  thou  by  searching  find  out  God? 
Canst  thou  find  out  the  Ahiiighty  unto  per- 
fection? 8.  //  is  as  high  as  heaven ;  what 
canst  thou  do?  deeper  than  hell;  what 
canst  thou  know?  9.  The  measure  there- 
of is  longer  than  the  earth,  and  broader 
than  the  sea.  10.  If  he  cut  off,  and  shut 
up,  or  gather  together,  then  who  can  hinder 
him?  11.  For  he  knoweth  vain  men:  he 
seeth  wickedness  also:  will  he  not  then 
consider  it?  12.  For  vain  man  would  be 
wise,  though  man  be  born  like  a  wild  ass's 
colt. 

Zophar  here  speaks  very  good  things  concerning 
God  and  his  greatness  and  glory,  concerning  man 
and  his  vanity  and  folly:  these  two  compared  to- 
gether, and  duly  considered,  will  ha\  e  a  powerful 
influence  upon  our  submission  to  all  the  dispensa- 
tions of  the  Divine  Providence. 

I.  See  here  what  (iod  is,  and  let  him  be  adored. 

1.  He  is  an  incomprehensible  Being,  infinite  and 
Immense,  whose  nature  and  perfection,  our  finite 
understandings  cannot  possibly  form  any  adequate 
conceptions  of,  and  whose  counsels  and  actings  we 
cannot  therefore,  without  the  greatest  presumption, 


pass  a  judgment  upon.  We,  that  are  so  little  ac- 
quainted with  the  divine  nature,  are  incompetent 
judges  of  the  Divine  Providence;  and,  when  we 
censure  the  dispensations  of  it,  we  talk  of  things 
that  we  do  not  understand.  We  camiot  find  rut 
God;  how  dare  we  then  find  fault  with  him?  "Zxy- 
phar  here  shows, 

(1.)  That  God's  nature  infinitely  exceeds  the  ca- 
pacities of  our  understandings;  "Canst  thou ^nd 
out  God:  find  him  out  to  fierfectioyi'^  No,  What 
canst  thou  do?  What  canst  thou  kno-iv?  v.  7,  8. 
Thou,  a  poor,  weak,  short-sighted  creature,  a  worm 
of  the  earth,  that  art  but  of  yesterday?  Thou, 
though  ever  so  inquisitive  after  him,  ever  so  desi- 
rous and  industrious  to  find  him  out,  yet  darest  thou 
attempt  the  search,  or  canst  thou  hope  to  speed  in 
it?"  We  may  by  searching  ^rzrf  God,  (Acts  xvii. 
27.)  but  we  cannot  find  him  out  in  any  thing  he  is 
pleased  to  conceal;  we  may  o/?prehend  him,  but 
cannot  comprehend  him;  we  may  know  that  he  is, 
but  cannot  know  -what  he  is;  the  eye  can  see  the 
ocean,  but  not  see  over  it;  we  may,  by  a  humble, 
diligent,  and  believing  search,  find  out  something  of 
God,  but  cannot  find  him  out  to  perfection;  we  may 
know,  but  cannot  know  fully,  what  God  is,  nor  find 
out  his  work  from  the  beginning  to  the  end,  Eccl. 
iii.  11.  Note,  God  is  unsearchable.  The  ages  ot 
his  eternity  cannot  be  numbered,  nor  the  spaces  of 
his  immensity  measured:  the  depths  of  his  wisdom 
cannot  be  fathomed,  nor  the  reaches  of  his  power 
bounded:  the  brightness  of  his  glory  can  never  be 
described,  nor  an  inventory  be  made  of  the  trea- 
sures of  his  goodness.  This  is  a  good  reason  why  we 
should  always  speak  of  God  with  humility  and  cau- 
tion, and  never  prescribe  to  him  or  quarrel  with 
him;  why  we  should  be  thankful  for  what  he  has 
revealed  of  himself,  and  long  to  be  there  where  we 
shall  see  him  as  he  is,  1  Cor.  xiii.  9,  10. 

(2.)  That  it  infinitely  exceeds  the  limits  of  the 
whole  creation;  It  is  higher  than  heaven,  (so  some 
read  it,)  deeper  than  hell,  the  great  abyss,  longer 
than  the  earth,  and  broader  than  the  sea,  manv 
parts  of  which  are,  to  this  day,  undiscovered,  an^ 
more  were  then.  It  is  quite  out  of  our  reach  to 
comprehend  God's  nature;  such  kno-w ledge  is  too 
ivonderful  for  us,  Ps.  cxxxix.  6.  We  cannot 
fathom  God's  designs,  nor  find  out  the  reasons  of 
his  proceedings;  his  judgments  are  a  great  deep. 
St.  Paul  attributes  such  immeasurable  dimensions 
to  the  divine  love,  as  Zophar  here  attributes  to  the 
divine  wisdom,  and  yet  recommends  it  to  our  ac- 
quaintance, fEph.  iii.  18.)  That  ye  may  knoiv  the 
breadth,  and  length,  and  defith,  and  height,  of  the 
love  of  Christ. 

2.  God  is  a  sovereign  Lord;  {y.  10.)  If  he  cut 
off  by  death,  (Marg.  If  he  make  a  change,  for 
death  is  a  change;  if  he  make  a  change  in  nations, 
in  families,  in  the  postvire  of  our  affairs,)  if  he  shut 
up  in  prison,  or  in  the  net  of  affliction;  (Ps.  Ixvi. 
11.)  if  he  seize  any  creature  as  a  hunter  his  prey, 
he  will  gather  it,  (so  Bishop  Patrick,)  and  who 
shall  force  him  to  restore?  Or,  if  he  gather  to- 
gether, as  tares  for  the  fire,  or,  if  he  gather  to. him- 
self man*  s  spirit  and  breath,  {ch.  xxxiv.  14.)  then 
nvho  can  hinder  him?  Who  can  either  arrest  the 
sentence,  or  oppose  the  execution?  Who  can  con- 
trol his  power,  or  arraign  his  wisdom  and  justice? 
If  he  that  made  all  out  of  nothing,  think  fit  to  re- 
duce all  to  nothing,  or  to  their  first  chaos  again;  if 
he  that  separated  between  light  and  darkness,  dry 
land  and  sea,  at  first,  please  to  gather  them  toge- 
ther again;  if  he  that  made,  unmakes,  -ivho  can  turn 
him  a-way,  alter  his  mind,  stay  his  hand,  impede  or 
impeach  his  proceedings? 

3.  God  is  a  strict  and  just  observer  of  the  chil- 
dren of  men;  (v.  11.)  He  kno-ws  vain  men.  We 
know  little  of  nim,  but  he  knows  us  perfectly;  he 


JOB,  XL 


61 


sees  wickedness  also,  not  to  approve  it,  (Hab.  i. 
13.)  but  to  animadvert  upon  it.  (1.)  He  observes 
vain  men;  (such  all  are,  every  man,  at  his  best  es- 
tate, is  altogether  vanity;)  and  he  considers  it  in  his 
dealings  with  them.  He  knows  what  the  projects 
and  hopes  of  vain  men  are,  and  can  blast  and  defeat 
them,  the  workings  of  their  foolish  fancies;  he  sits 
in  heaven,  and  laughs  at  them.  He  takes  knowledge 
of  the  vanity  of  men,  that  is,  their  little  sins,  so 
some;  their  vain  tlioughts  and  vain  words,  and  un- 
steadiness in  that  which  is  good.  (2. )  He  observes 
bad  men;  he  sees  gross  wickedness  also,  though 
acted  ever  so  secretly,  and  ever  so  artfully  palliated 
and  disguised.  All  the  wickedness  of  the  wicked 
is  naked  and  open  before  the  all-seeing  eye  of  God; 
ivi/l  he  not  then  consider  it?  Yes,  certainly  he  will, 
and  will  reckon  for  it,  though  for  a  time  he  seems 
to  keep  silence. 

n.  See  here  what  man  is;  and  let  him  be  hum- 
bled; {v.  12.)  God  sees  this  concerning  vain  man, 
that  he  would  be  wise,  would  be  thought  so,  though 
he  is  born  like  a  ivild  ass^s  colt,  so  sottish  and  fool- 
ish, unteachable  and  untameable.  See  what  man 
is:  1.  He  is  a  vain  creature;  empty;  so  the  word 
is:  God  made  him  full,  but  he  emptied  himself, 
impoverished  himself,  and  now  he  is  raca,  a  crea- 
ture that  has  nothing  in  him.  2.  He  is  a  foolish 
creature,  become  like  the  beasts  that  perish,  (Ps. 
xlix.  20. — Ixxiii.  22.)  an  idiot,  born  like  an  ass,  the 
most  stupid  animal,  an  ass's  colt,  not  yet  brought  to 
any  service.  If  ever  he  come  to  be  good  for  any 
thing,  it  is  owing  to  the  grace  of  Christ,  who  once, 
in  the  day  of  his  triumph,  served  himself  of  an  ass's 
colt.  3.  He  is  a  wilful  ungovernable  creatuie.  An 
ass's  colt  may  be  made  good  for  something,  but  the 
wild  ass's  colt  will  never  be  reclaimed,  nor  regards 
the  crying  of  the  driver.  See  Job  xxxix.  5 .  .  7. 
Man  thinks  himself  as  much  at  liberty,  and  his 
own  master,  as  the  wild  ass's  colt  does,  that  is  used 
to  the  wilderness,  (Jer.  ii.  24.)  eager  to  gratify  his 
own  appetites  and  passions.  4.  Yet  he  is  a  proud 
creature  and  self-conceited.  He  would  be  wise, 
would  be  thought  so,  values  himself  upon  the  ho- 
nour of  wisdom,  though  he  will  not  submit  himself 
to  the  laws  of  wisdom.  He  would  be  wise,  that  is, 
he  reaches  after  forbidden  wisdom,  and,  like  his 
first  parents,  aiming  to  be  wise  above  what  is  writ- 
ten, loses  the  tree  of  life  for  the  tree  of  knowledge. 
Now,  is  such  a  creature  as  this  fit  to  contend  with 
God,  or  call  him  to  an  account?  Did  we  but  better 
know  God  and  ourselves,  we  should  better  know 
how  to  conduct  ourselves  toward  God. 

1 3.  If  thou  prepare  thy  heart,  and  stretch 
out  thy  hands  toward  hun;  14.  If  iniquity 
be  in  thy  hand,  put  it  far  away,  and  let  not 
wickedness  dwell  in  thy  tabernacles.  15. 
For  then  shalt  thou  lift  up  thy  face  without 
spot;  yea,  thou  shalt  be  steadfast,  and  shalt 
not  fear:  16.  Because  thou  shalt  forget 
thy  misery,  and  remember  it  as  waters  that 
pass  away:  17.  And  thine  age  shall  be 
clearer  than  the  noon-day ;  thou  shalt  shine 
forth,  thou  shalt  be  as  the  morning.  18. 
And  thou  shalt  be  secure,  because  there  is 
hope ;  yea,  thou  shalt  dig  about  thee,  and 
thou  shalt  take  thy  rest  in  safety.  19.  Also 
thou  shalt  lie  down,  and  none  shall  make 
thee  afraid  ;  yea,  many  shall  make  suit  unto 
thee,  20.  But  the  eyes  of  the  wicked  shall 
fail,  and  they  shall  not  escape,  and  their 
hope  shall  be  as  the  giving  up  of  the  ghost. 


Zophar,  as  the  other  two,  here  encourages  Job 
to  hope  for  better  times,  if  he  would  but  come  to  a 
better  temper. 

I.  He  gives  him  good  counsel,  {v.  13,  14.)  as 
El  phaz  did,  {ch.  v.  8.)  and  Bildad,  ch.  viii.  5.  He 
would  have  him  repent,  and  return 'to  God.  Ob- 
serve the  steps  of  that  return; 

1.  He  must  look  within,  and  get  his  mind  chang- 
ed, and  the  tree  made  good.  He  must  prepare  his 
heart;  there  the  work  of  conversion  and  reforma- 
tion must  begin.  The  heart  that  wandered  from 
God  must  be  reduced;  that  was  defiled  with  sin  and 
put  into  disorder,  must  !)e  cleansed  and  put  in  order 
again;  that  was  wavering  and  unfixed,  must  be 
settled  and  established:  so  the  word  here  signifies. 
The  heart  is  then  prepared  to  seek  (iod,  when  it 
is  determined  and  fully  resolved  to  make  a  business 
of  it,  and  to  go  through  with  it. 

2.  He  must  look  up,  and  stretch  out  his  hand  to- 
ward God,  that  is,  must  stir  up  himself  to  take 
hold  on  God;  must  pray  to  him  with  earnestness 
and  importunity,  striving  in  prayer,  and  with  ex- 
pectation to  receive  mercy  and  grace  from  him. 
To  give  the  hand  to  the  Lord,  signifies  to  yield 
ourselves  to  him  and  to  covenant  with  him,  2  Chron. 
XXX.  8.  This  Job  must  do,  and,  for  the  doing  of  it, 
must  prepare  his  heart.  Job  had  prayed,  but  Zo- 
phar would  have  him  to  pray  in  a  better  manner, 
not  as  an  appellant,  but  as  a  petitioner  and  humble 
supplicant. 

3.  He  must  amend  what  was  amiss  in  his  own 
conversation,  else  his  prayers  would  be  ineffectual; 
{v.  14.)  If  iniquity  be  in  thy  hand,  that  is,  "If 
there  be  any  sin,  which  thou  dost  yet  live  in  the 
practice  of,  put  it  far  away,  forsake  it  with  detes- 
tation and  a  holy  indignation,  steadfastly  resolving 
not  to  return  to  it,  nor  ever  to  have  any  thing  more 
to  do  with  it,  Ezek.  xviii.  31.  Hos.  xiv.  9.  Isa. 
XXX.  22.  If  any  of  the  gains  of  iniquity,  any  goods 
gotten  by  fraud  or  oppression,  be  in  thine  hand, 
make  restitution  of  it,^'  (as  Zaccheus,  Luke  xix. 
8.)  I*  and  shake  thy  hands  from  holding  \t"  Isa. 
xxxiii.  15.  The  guilt  of  sin  is  not  removed,  if  the 
gain  of  sin  be  not  restored. 

4.  He  must  do  his  utmost  to  reform  his  family 
too;  *'Let  not  wickedness  dwell  in  thy  tabernacles; 
let  not  thy  house  haibour  or  shelter  anv  wicked 
persons,  any  wicked  practices,  or  any  wealth  gotten 
by  wickedness."  He  suspected  that  Job's  great 
household  had  been  ill  governed,  and  that  where 
there  were  manv,  there  were  many  wicked,  and 
the  ruin  of  his  family  was  the  punishment  of  the 
wickedness  of  it;  and  therefore,  if  he  expected  God 
should  return  to  him,  he  must  reform  what  was 
amiss  there,  and,  though  wickedness  might  come 
into  his  tabernacles,  he  must  not  suifer  it  to  dwell 
there,  Ps.  ex.  3,  &c. 

II.  He  assures  him  of  comfort  if  he  took  this 
counsel,  v.  15,  &c.  If  he  would  repent  and  re- 
form, he  should,  without  doubt,  be  easy  and  happy, 
and  all  would  be  well.  Perhaps  Zophar  might  in- 
sinuate, that,  unless  God  did  speedily  make  such  a 
change  as  this  in  his  condition,  he  and  his  fiiends 
would  be  confirmed  in  their  opinion  of  him  as  a 
hypocrite  and  a  dissembler  with  God:  a  great  truth, 
however,  is  conveyed,  That  the  work  of  righteous- 
ness will  be  fieace,  and  the  effect  of  righteousness 
quietness  and  assurance  for  ever,  Isa.  xxxii.  17. 
Those  that  sincerely  turn  to  God,  may  expect, 
1.  A  holy  confidence  toward  God;  "Then  shalt 
thou  lift  up  thy  face  toward  heaven  without  spot; 
thou  mayest  come  boldly  to  the  throne  of  grace," 
and  not  with  that  terror  and  amazement  expressed, 
ch.  ix.  34.  If  our  hearts  condemn  us  not  for  hypo- 
crisy and  impenitency,  then  have  we  confidence  in 
our  approaches  to  God  and  expectations  from  him, 
1  John  iii.  21.     If  we  are  looked  uDon  in  the  face 


b2 


JOB,  XII. 


rf  ihe  Anointed,  our  fares,  that  were  dejected,  may- 
be lifted  uj;;  t!iat  were  polluted,  being  washed  with 
tile  blood  of  Christ,  may  be  lifted  up  without  spot. 
We  m  ly  draw  near  in  full  assurance  of  faith,  when 
we  are  nfirinkl^d  from  an  evil  conscience,  Heb.  x. 
22,  Son»e  understand  this  of  the  clearing  up  of  his 
credit  before  men,  Ps.  xxxvii.  6.  If  we  make  our 
peace  with  God,  we  may  with  cheerfulness  look 
(  ur  friends  in  the  face. 

2.  Aholycomposedness in  themselves;  Thoushalt 
be  steadfast,  and  sfialt  not  fear,  not  be  afraid  of  evil 
tidings,  thy  heart  being  fixed,  Ps.  cxii.  7.  Job  was 
now  full  of  confusion,  {c/i.  x.  15.)  while  he  looked 
upon  God  as  his  Enemy,  and  quarrelled  with  him; 
but  Zophar  assures  him,  that,  if  he  would  submit 
and  humble  himself,  his  mind  would  be  stayed, 
and  he  would  be  freed  from  those  frightful  appre- 
hensions he  had  of  God,  which  put  him  into  such 
an  agitation.  The  less  we  are  frightened,  the  more 
■we  are  fixed;  and,  consequently,  the  more  fit  we 
are  for  our  services  and  for  our  sufferings. 

3.  A  comfortable  reflection  upon  their  past  trou- 
bles; {v.  16.)  '^^Thou  shall  forget  thy  misery;  (as 
the  mother  forgets  her  travailing  pains,  for  joy  that 
the  child  is  born;)  thou  shalt  be  perfectly  freed 
from  the  impressions  it  makes  upon  thee,  and  thou 
shalt  remember  it  as  nvaters  that  pass  away,  or  are 
poured  out  of  a  vessel,  which  leave  no  taste  or  tinc- 
ture beliind  them,  as  other  liquors  do.  The  wounds 
of  thy  present  affliction  shall  be  perfectly  healed, 
not  only  without  a  remaining  scar,  but  without  a 
remaining  pain."  Job  had  endeavoured  to  forget 
his  complaint,  {ch.  ix.  27.)  but  found  he  could  not; 
his  soul  had  still  in  remembrance  the  wormwood  arid 
the  gall:  but  here  Zophar  puts  him  in  a  way  to  for- 
get it:  let  him  by  faith  and  prayer  bring  his  griefs 
and  cares  to  God,  and  leave  them  with  him,  and 
then  he  shall  forget  them.  Where  sin  sits  heavily, 
affliction  sits  lightly.  If  we  duly  remember  our  sins, 
we  shall,  in  comparison  with  them,  forget  our 
misery;  much  more  if  we  obtain  the  comfort  of 
a  sealed  pardon  and  a  sealed  peace.  He  whose  ini- 
quity is  forgiven  shall  not  say,  I  am  sick,  but  for- 
get that,  Isa.  xxxiii.  24. 

4.  A  comfortable  prospect  of  their  future  peace. 
This  Zophar  here  thinks  to  please  Job  with,  in 
answer  to  the  m my  despairing  expressions  he  had 
used,  as  if  it  were  to  no  purpose  for  him  to  hope 
ever  to  see  good  days  again  in  this  world;  "Yea, 
but  thou  mavest,"  (says  Zophar,)  "and  good  nights 
too." 

A  blessed  change  he  here  puts  him  in  hopes  of. 

(1.)  That  though  now  his  light  was  eclipsed,  it 
should  shine  out  again,  and  brighter  than  ever,  v. 
17.  That  even  his  setting  sun  should  out-shine  his 
noon-day  sun,  and  his  evening  be  fair  and  clear  as 
the  morning,  in  respect  both  of  honour  and  plea- 
sure; that  his  light  should  shine  out  of  obscurity; 
(Isa.  Iviii.  10.)  and  the  thick  and  dark  cloud,  from 
behind  which  his  sun  should  break  forth,  would 
serve  as  a  foil  to  its  lustre.  That  it  should  shine 
even  in  old  age',  and  those  evil  days  should  be  good 
days  to  him.  Note,  They  that  truly  turn  to  God 
then  begin  to  shine  forth;  their  path  is  as  the  shin- 
ing light  which  increases,  the  period  of  their  day 
■will  be  the  perfection  of  it,  and  their  evening  to  this 
•world  their  morning  to  a  better. 

(2. )  That  though  now  he  was  in  a  continual  fear 
and  terror,  he  should  live  in  a  holy  rest  and  securi- 
ty, and  find  himself  continually  safe  and  easy;  (x'. 
18.)  Thou  shalt  be  secure,  because  there  is  hope. 
Note,  Those  who  have  a  good  hope,  through 
grace,  in  CTod,  and  of  heaven,  are  certainly  safe, 
j'.nd  have  reason  to  be  secure,  how  difflrult  soever 
the  times  are  through  which  they  pass  in  this  world. 
He  that  walks  uprightly  may  thus  walk  surely,  be- 
cause, though  there  j"-e  trouble  and  danger,  yet 


there  is  hope  that  all  will  be  well  at  last.  Hope  i? 
071  anchor  of  the  soul,  Heb.  \  i.  19.  "■Thou  shalt 
dig  about  thee,"  that  is,  "  Thou  shalt  be  as  safe  as 
an  aimy  in  its  intrenchments."  They  thac  submi 
themselves  to  God's  government  shall  be  taken  un- 
der his  protection,  and  then  they  are  s;ife  bi.tli  day 
and  night.  [1.]  By  day,  when  they  employ  them- 
selves abroad;  ''Thou  shalt  dig  in  safety,  thou  -and 
thy  servants  for  thee,  and  not  be  again  set  upon 
by  the  plunderers,  who  fell  upon  thy  ser,  ants  at 
plough,"  ch.  i.  14.  It  is  no  part  of  the  promised 
prosperity,  that  he  should  live  in  idleness,  but  that 
he  should  have  a  calling  and  follow  it,  and,  when 
he  was  about  the  business  of  it,  should  be  under  the 
divine  protection;  Thou  shalt  dig  and  be  safe,  not 
rob  and  be  safe;  the  way  of  duty  is  the  way  of  safe- 
ty. [2.]  By  night,  when  they  repose  themselves 
at  home;  Ihou  shalt  take  thy  rest  (and  the  sleep  of 
the  labouring  7nan  is  sweet)  in  safety,  notwithstand- 
ing the  dangers  of  the  darkness.  The  pillar  of 
cloud  by  day  shall  be  a  pillar  of  fire  by  night; 
"Thou  shalt  lie  down,  {v.  19.)  not  forced  to' wander 
where  there  is  no  place  to  lay  thy  head  on,  not 
forced  to  watch  and  sit  up  in  expectation  of  assaults; 
but  thou  shalt  go  to  bed  at  bed-time,  and  not  only 
shall  none  hurt  thee,  but  none  shall  make  thee 
afraid,  or  so  much  as  give  thee  an  alarm."  Note, 
It  is  a  great  mercy  to  have  quiet  nights  and  undis- 
turbed sleeps;  these  say  so  that  ai'e  within  the  hear- 
ing of  the  noise  of  war.  And  the  way  to  be  quiet, 
is,  to  seek  unto  God,  and  keep  ourselves  in  his  love. 
Nothing  needs  make  those  afraid,  who  return  to 
God  as  their  rest,  and  take  him  for  their  habitation. 

(3.)  That  though  now  he  was  slighted,  yet  he 
should  be  courted;  "  Many  shall  make  suit  to  thee, 
and  think  it  their  interest  to  secure  thy  friendship." 
Suit  is  made  to  those  that  are  eminently  wise  or  re- 
puted to  be  so,  that  are  very  rich,  or  in  power.  Zo- 
phar knew  Job  so  well,  that  he  foresaw,  how  low 
soever  this  present  ebb  was,  if  once  the  tide  turned, 
it  would  flow  as  high  as  ever,  and  he  would  be  again 
the  darling  of  his  country.  They  that  rightly  make 
suit  to  God,  will  probably  see  the  day  when  others 
will  make  suit  to  them,  as  the  foolish  virgins  to  the 
wise,  Give  us  of  your  oil. 

Lastly,  Zophar  concludes  with  a  brief  account  of 
the  doom  of  wicked  people;  (r.  20.)  But  the  eyes  of 
the  ivicked  shall  fail.  It  should  seem,  he  suspected 
that  Job  would  not  take  his  counsel,  and  here  tells 
him  what  would  then  come  of  it,  setting  death  as 
well  as  life  before  him.  See  what  will  come  of  those 
who  persist  in  their  wickedness,  and  will  not  be  re- 
formed. 

1.  They  shall  not  reach  the  good  thev  flatter 
themselves  with  the  hopes  of,  in  this  world  and  in 
the  other.  Disappointments  will  be  their  doom, 
their  shame,  their  endless  torment.  Their  eyes 
shall  fail  with  expecting  that  which  will  never  come. 
When  a  wicked  man  dieth,  his  expectation  perishes, 
Prov.  xi.  7.  Their  hope  shall  be  as  a  puff  of  breath, 
(Marg.)  vanished  and  gone,  past  recall:  or  their 
hope  will  perish  and  expire  as  a  man  does  when  he 
gives  up  the  ghost;  it  will  fail  them  when  they  have 
most  need  of  it,  and  when  they  expected  the  ac- 
complishment of  it;  it  will  die  away,  and  leave  them 
in  utter  confusion. 

2.  They  shall  not  avoid  the  evil  which  sometimes 
they  frighten  themselves  with  the  apprehension  of; 
they  shall  not  escape  the  execution  of  the  sentence 
past  upon  them;  can  neither  out -brave  it,  noi  out- 
run it.  Those  that  will  not  fly  to  God,  will  find  it 
in  vain  to  think  of  flying/rom  him. 

CHAP.  XIT. 

In  this  and  the  two  following  chapters,  we  have  Job's  an- 
swer to  Zophar's  discourse.  In  which,  as  before,  he  fir^t 
reasons  with  his  friends,  (see  ch.  13.  19.)  and  then  turns 


JOB  xri. 


63 


to  his  God,  and  directs  liis  expostulations  to  him,  from 
thence  to  the  end  of  his  discourse.  In  this  chapter,  he 
addresses  himself  to  his  friends,  and,  I.  He  condemns  what 
they  had  said  of  him,  and  the  judgment  they  had  given  of 
his  character,  v.  1 ,  .  5.  II.  He  contradicts  and  confronts 
what  they  had  said  of  the  destruction  of  wiclfed  people 
in  this  world,  showing-  that  tiiey  often  prosper,  v.  6  . .  II. 
in.  He  consents  to  what  they  had  said  of  the  wisdom, 
power,  and  sovereignty,  of  God,  and  the  dominion  of  his 
providence  over  the  children  of  men  and  all  their  affairs; 
ne  confirms  this,  and  enlarges  upon  it,  v.  12  ..25. 

1.  4  ND  Job  answered  and  said,  2.  No 
/5l  doubt  but  ye  are  the  people,  and  wis- 
dom shall  die  with  you.  3.  But  I  have  un- 
derstanding as  well  as  you ;  I  am  not  inferior 
to  you :  yea,  who  knoweth  not  such  things 
as  these  ?  4.  I  am  as  one  mocked  of  his 
neighbour,  who  calleth  upon  God,  and  he  an- 
swereth  him  :  the  just  upright  man  is  laugh- 
e,d  to  scorn.  5.  He  that  is  ready  to  slip 
with  his  feet  is  as  a  lamp  despised  in  the 
thought  of  him  that  is  at  ease. 

The  reproofs  Job  here  gives  to  his  friends,  whe- 
ther they  were  just  or  no,  were  very  sharp,  and  may 
ser\  e  for  a  rebuke  to  all  that  are  proud  and  scorn- 
ful, and  an  exposing  of  their  folly. 

I.  He  upbraids  them  with  their  conceitedness  of 
themselves,  and  the  good  opinion  they  seemed  to 
have'of  their  own  wisdom  in  comparison  with  him; 
than  which  nothing  is  more  weak  and  unbecoming, 
nor  better  deserves  to  be  ridiculed,  as  it  is  here. 

1.  He  represents  them  as  claiming  the  monopoly 
of  wisdom,  v.  2.  He  speaks  ironically,  "  JVo  doubt, 
you  are  the  peofile;  you  think  yourselves  fit  to  dic- 
tate and  give  law  to  all  mankind,  and  your  own  judg- 
ment to  be  the  standard  by  which  every  man's  opi- 
nion must  be  measured  and  tried;  as  if  nobody  could 
discern  between  truth  and  falsehood,  good  and  evil, 
but  you  only;  and  therefore  every  top-sail  must 
lower  to  you,  and,  right  or  wrong,  we  must  all  say 
as  you  say,  and  you  three  must  be  the  people,  the 
majority,  to  have  the  casting  vote."  Note,  It  is  a 
very  foolish  sinful  thing  for  any  to  think  themselves 
wiser  than  all  mankind  besides,  or  to  speak  and  act 
confidently  and  imperiously,  as  if  they  thought  so. 
Nay,  he  goes  further;  "You  not  only  think  there 
are  none,  but  that  there  nvill  be  none,  as  wise  as  you, 
and  therefore  that  wisdom  must  die  with  you,  and 
all  the  world  must  be  fools  when  you  are  gone,  and 
in  the  dark  when  your  sun  is  set."  Note,  It  is  folly 
for  us  to  think  that  there  will  be  any  great  irrepa- 
rable loss  of  us  when  we  are  gone,  or  that  we  can  be 
ill-spared,  since  God  has  the  residue  of  the  Spirit, 
and  can  raise  up  others  more  fit  than  we  are,  to  do 
his  work.  When  wise  men  and  good  men  die,  it  is 
a  comfort  to  think  that  wisdom  and  goodness  shall 
not  die  with  them.  Some  think  Job  here  reflects 
upon  Zophar's  comparing  him  (as  he  thought)  and 
others  to  the  wild  ass's  colt,  ch.  xi.  12.  "  Yes,"  says 
he,  "  've  must  be  asses,  you  are  the  only  men. " 

2.  He  does  himself  the  justice  to  put  in  his  claim 
as  a  sharer  in  the  gifts  of  wisdom;  {y.  3.)  "  But  I 
have  understanding,  a  heart,  as  well  as  you;  nay, 
I  fall  not  lower  than  you;"  (as  it  is  in  the  margin;) 
'•  I  am  as  well  able  to  judge  of  the  methods  and 
meanings  of  the  Divine  Providence,  and  to  construe 
the  hard  chapters  of  it,  as  you  are. "  He  says  not 
this,  to  magnify  himself;  it  was  no  great  applause 
of  himself  to  say,  I  have  understanding  as  ivell  as 
you;  no,  nor  to  sav,  "I  understand  this  matter  as 
well  as  you;"  for  what  reason  had  either  he  or  they 
to  be  proud  of  understanding  that  which  was  obvi- 
ous and  level  to  the  capacity  of  the  meanest;  "  Yea, 
•who  knows  not  such  things  as  these?    What  things 


you  have  said,  that  are  true,  are  plain  truths,  and 
common  themes,  which  there  are  many  that  can  talk 
as  excellently  of  as  either  you  or  I:"  but  he  says  it, 
to  humble  them,  and  check  the  value  they  had  for 
themselves  as  doctors  of  the  chair.     Note,  (1.)  It 
may  justly  keep  us  from  being  proud  of  our  know- 
ledge, to  consider  how  many  there  are  that  know  as 
much  as  we  do,  and  perhaps  much  more,   and  to 
better  purpose.     (2.)  When  we  are  tempted  to  be 
harsh  in  our  censures  of  those  we  differ  from  and 
dispute  with,  we  ought  to  consider  that  they  also 
ha\e  understandings  as  well  as  we,  a  capacity  of 
judging,  and  a  right  of  judging,  for  themselves;  nay, 
perhaps  they  are  not  mferior  to  us,  but  iujjerior,  arid 
it  is  possible  that  they  may  be  in  the  right,  and  we 
in  the  wrong;  and  therefore  we  ought  not  to  judge 
or  despise  them,  (Rom.  xiv.  3. )  nor  pretend  to  be 
masters,  (Jam.  iii.  1.)  while  all  we  are  brethren, 
Matth.  xxiii.  8.      It  is  a  very  reasonable  allowance 
to  be  made  to  all  we  converse  with,  all  we  contend 
with,  that  they  are  rational  creatures  as  well  as  we. 
II.  He  complains  of  the  great  contempt  with  which 
they  had  treated  him.     Those  that  are  haughty  and 
think  too  well  of  themselves,  are  commonly  scorn- 
ful, and  ready  to  trample  upon  all  about  them :  Job 
found  it  so,  at  least  he  thought  he  did;  {v.  4.)  lam 
as  one  mocked.     I  cannot  say  there  was   cause  for 
this  charge;  we  will  not  think  Job's  friends  designed 
him  any  abuse,  nor  aimed  at  any  thing  but  to  con- 
vince him,  and  so,  in  the  right  method,  to  comfort 
him;  yet  he  cries  out,  I  am  as  one  mocked.     Note, 
We  are  apt  to  call  reproofs  refiroaches,  and  to  think 
ourselves  mocked  when  we  are  but  advised  and  ad- 
monished; this  peevishness  is  our  folly,  and  a  great 
wrong  to  ourselves  and  to  our  friends.     Yet  we  can- 
not but  say  there  was  a  colour  for  this  charge;  they 
came  to  comfort  him,  but  they  vexed  him ;  gave  him 
counsels   and  encouragements,   but  with  no  great 
.opinion  that  either  the  one  or  the  other  would  take 
effect;  and  therefore  he  thought  they  mocked  him, 
and  it  added  much  to  his  grief.     Nothing  is  more 
grievous  to  those  that  are  fallen  from  the  height  of 
prosperity  into  the  depth  of  adversity,  than  to  be 
trodden  on,  and  insulted  o\er,  when  they  are  down; 
and  on  this  head  they  are  too  apt  to  be  suspicious. 
Observe,  1.  WViat  aggravated  this  grievance  to 
him.     Two  things:  (1.)  That  they  were  his  neigh- 
bours, his  friends,  his  com])anions,  so  the  word  sig- 
nifies; and  the  scoflFs  of  such  are  often  most  spiteful- 
ly given,  and  always  most  indignantly  received;  (Ps. 
Iv.  12,  13.)  It  was  not  an  enemy  that  refiroached 
me;  then  I  could  have  slighted  it,  and  so  borne  it; 
but  it  was  thou,  a  man  mine  equal.     (2. )  That  they 
were  professors  of  religion,  such  as  called  upon  God, 
and  said  that  he  answered  them;  for  some  under- 
stand that  of  the  persons  mocking;  "They  are  such 
as  have   a  regard  to  Heaven,  and  an   interest  in 
Heaven,  whose  prayers  I  would  therefore  be  glad 
of  and  thankful  for,  and  whose  good  opinion  I  can- 
not but  covet,  and  therefore  whose  censures  are  the 
more  grievous."    Note,  It  is  sad  that  any  who  call 
upon  (xod  should  mock  their  brethren;  (Jam.  iii.  9, 
10.)  audit  cannot  but  lie  heavily  on  a  good  man  to  be 
thought  ill  of  by  those  whom  he  thinks  well  of;  yet 
this  is  no  new  thing. 

2.  What  supported  him  under  it.  (1.)  That  he 
had  a  God  to  go  to,  with  whom  he  could  lodge  his 
appeal;  for  some  understand  those  Avords  of  the 
person  mocked,  that  he  calls  ufioyi  God,  and  he 
answers  hi?n ;  and  so  it  agrees  with  ch.  xvi.  20.  Jlfy 
friends  scorn  me,  but  mine  eye poureth  out  tears  to 
God.  If  our  friends  be  deaf  to  our  complaints,  God 
is  not;  if  they  condemn  us,  God  knows  our  integri 
ty;  if  they  make  the  worst  of  us,  he  will  make  the 
best  of  us;  if  they  give  us  cross  answers,  he  will 
give  us  kind  ones.  (2.)  That  his  case  was  not  sin- 
gular, but  very  common:   The  just  upright  nmn  is 


64 


JOB,  XII. 


laughed  to  scorn;  by  many  he  is  laughed  at  even 
for  his  justice  and  his  uprightness,  his  honesty  to- 
ward men,  and  his  piety  toward  God;  these  are  de- 
rided as  foolish  things,  which  silly  people  needless- 
ly hamper  themselves  with:  as  if  religion  were  a 
jest,  and  therefore  to  be  made  a  jest  of.  By  most 
he  is  laughed  at  for  any  little  infirmity  or  weakness, 
notwithstanding  his  justice  and  uprightness,  with- 
out any  consideraticin  had  of  that  which  is  so  much 
his  lionour.  Note,  It  was  of  old  the  lot  of  honest 
good  people  to  be  despised  and  derided;  we  are  not 
therefore  to  think  it  strange,  (1  Pet.  iv.  12.)  no  nor 
to  think  it  hard,  if  it  be  our  lot;  so  persecuted  they 
not  only  the  prophets,  but  even  the  saints  of  the  pa- 
triarchal age,  Matth.  v.  12.  And  can  we  expect  to 
fare  better  than  they? 

3.  What  he  suspected  to  be  the  true  cause  of  it, 
and  that  was,  in  short,  this;  they  were  themselves 
rich  and  at  ease,  and  therefore  they  despised  him 
who  was  fallen  into  poverty.  It  is  the  way  of  the 
world,  we  see  instances  of  it  daily;  they  that  pros- 
per are  praised,  but  of  them  that  are  going  down  it 
IS  said,  "Down  with  them."  He  that  is  ready  to 
slifi  with  hiffeet,  and  fall  into  trouble,  though  he  has 
formerly  shone  as  alamj),  is  then  looked  upon  as  a 
lamp  going  out,  like  the  snufF  of  a  candle,  which 
we  throw  to  the  ground,  and  tread  upon,  and  is  ac- 
cordingly despised  in  the  thought  of  him  that  is  at 
ease,  v.  5.  Even  the  just  upright  man,  that  is  in 
his  generation  as  a  burning  and  shining  light,  if  he 
enter  into  ibmptation,  (Ps.  Ixxiii.  2.)  or  come  under 
a  cloud,  is  looked  upon  with  contempt.  See  here,  (1.) 
What  is  the  common  fault  of  those  that  live  in  pros- 
perity ;  being  full  and  easy  and  merry  themselves, 
thev  look  scornfully  upon  those  that  are  in  want, 
pain,  and  sorrow;  they  overlook  them,  take  no  no- 
tice of  them,  and  study  to  forget  them.  SeePs.  cxxiii. 
4.)  The  chief  butler  drinks  wine  in  bowls,  but 
makes  nothing  of  the  afflictions  of  Joseph.  Wealth 
without  grace  often  makes  men  thus  haughty,  thus 
careless  of  their  poor  neighbours.  (2.)  What  is  the 
common  fate  of  those  that  fall  into  adversity.  Po- 
verty serves  to  eclipse  all  their  lustre;  though  they 
are  lamps,  yet,  if  taken  out  of  golden  candlesticks, 
and  put,  like  Gideon's,  into  earthen  pitchers,  no- 
body values  them  as  formerly,  but  they  that  live  at 
ease  despise  them. 

6.  The  tabernacles  of  robbers  prosper,  and 
they  that  provoke  God  are  secure ;  into  whose 
hand  God  bringeth  ahundanthj.  7.  But 
ask  now  the  beasts,  and  they  shall  teach 
thee ;  and  the  fowls  of  the  air,  and  they  shall 
tell  thee:  8.  Or  speak  to  the  earth,  and 
It  shall  teach  thee ;  and  the  fishes  of  the  sea 
shall  declare  unto  thee.  9.  Who  knoweth 
not  in  all  these,  that  the  hand  of  the  Lord 
hath  wrought  this  ?  10.  In  whose  hand  is 
the  soul  of  every  living  thing,  and  the  breath 
of  all  mankind.  11.  Doth  not  the  ear  try 
words  ?  and  the  mouth  taste  his  meat  ? 

Job's  friends,  all  of  them,  went  upon  this  princi- 
ple, that  wicked  people  cannot  prosper  long  in  this 
world,  but  some  remarkable  judgment  or  other  will 
suddenly  light  on  them:  Zophar  had  concluded 
with  it,  that  the  eyes  of  the  ivicked  shall  fail,  ch.  xi. 
20.  This  principle  Job  here  opposes,  and  maintains, 
that  God,  in  disposing  men's  outward  affairs,  acts  as 
a  Sovereign,  reserving  the  exact  distribution  of  re- 
wards and  punishments  for  the  future  state. 

I.  He  asserts  it  as  an  undoubted  truth,  that  wick- 
ed people  may,  and  often  do,  prosper  long  in  this 
world,  V.  6.     Even  great  sinners  may  enjoy  great 


prosperity.  Observe,  1.  How  he  describes  the  sin 
ners;  they  are  robbers,  and  such  as  provoke  God, 
the  worst  kind  of  sinners,  blasphemers  and  persecu- 
tors; perhaps  he  refers  to  the  Sabeans  and  Chal- 
deans, who  had  robbed  him,  and  had  always  lived 
by  spoil  and  rapine,  and  yet  tliey  prospered;  all  the 
world  saw  they  did,  and  there  is  no  disputing  against 
sense;  one  observation  built  upon  matter  of  fact  is 
worth  twenty  notions  framed  by  an  hypothesis.  Or, 
more  generally.  All  proud  oppressors  are  robbers 
and  pirates.  It  is  supposed  that  what  is  injurious  to 
men,  is  provoking  to  God,  the  Patron  of  right,  and 
the  Protector  of  mankind.  It  is  not  strange,  if  those 
that  \  iolate  the  bonds  of  justice,  break  thr<  ugh  the 
obligations  of  all  religion,  bid  defiance  even  to  God 
himself,  and  make  nothing  of  provoking  him.  2. 
How  he  describes  their  prosperity:  it  is  very  great; 
for,  (1.)  Even  their  tabernacles  prosper,  these  that 
live  with  them,  and  those  that  come  after  them,  and 
descend  from  them.  It  seems  as  if  a  blessing  were 
entailed  upon  their  families;  and  that  is  preserved 
sometimes  to  succeeding  generations,  which  was  got 
by  fraud.  (2. )  They  are  secure,  and  not  only  feel 
no  hurt,  but  fear  none,  are  under  no  apprehensions 
of  danger,  either  from  threatening  providences,  or 
an  awakened  conscience.  But  those  that  provoke 
God  are  never  the  more  safe  for  their  being  secure. 
(3.)  Into  their  hand  God  brings  abundantly.  They 
have  more  than  heart  could  wish,  Ps.  Ixxiii.  7- 
They  have,  not  for  necessity  only,  but  for  delight; 
not  for  themselves  only,  but  for  others;  not  for  the 
present  only,  but  for  hereafter;  and  this  from  the 
hand  of  Providence  too.  God  brings  plentifully  to 
them ;  we  cannot  therefore  judge  of  men's  piety  by 
their  plenty,  nor  of  what  they  have  in  their  heart 
by  what  they  have  in  their  hand. 

II.  He  app)eals  even  to  the  inferior  creatures  foi 
the  proof  of  this — the  beasts,  and  fowls,  and  trees, 
and  even  the  earth  itself;  consult  these,  and  they 
shall  tell  thee;  {v.  7,  8.)  many  a  good  lesson  we 
may  learn  from  them;  but  what  are  they  here  to 
teach  us.' 

1.  We  may  learn  from  them  that  the  tabemacle& 
of  robbers  prosper;  so  some.  For,  (1.)  Even  among 
the  brute  creatures,  the  greater  devour  the  lesser, 
and  the  stronger  prey  upon  the  weaker,  and  men 
are  as  the  fishes  of  the  sea,  Hab.  i.  14.  If  sin  had 
not  entered,  we  may  suppose  there  had  been  no  such 
disorder  among  the  creatures,  but  the  wolf  and  the 
lamb  had  lain  down  together.  (2.)  These  crea- 
tures are  serviceable  to  wicked  men,  and  so  they 
declare  their  prosperity.  Ask  the  herds  and  the 
flocks,  to  whom  they  belong,  and  they  will  tell  yon 
that  such  a  robber,  such  an  oppressor,  is  their 
owner:  the  fishes  and  fowls  will  tell  you  that  they 
are  served  up  to  the  tables,  and  feed  the  luxury,  ol 
proud  sinners:  the  earth  brings  forth  her  fruits  to 
them,  {ch.  ix.  24.)  and  the  whole  creation  groans 
under  the  burthen  of  their  tyranny,  Rom.  viii.  20, 
22.  Note,  All  the  creatures  which  wicked  men 
abuse,  by  making  them  the  food  and  fuel  of  theii 
lusts,  will  witness  against  them,  another  day. 
Jam.  v.  3,  4. 

2.  We  may  from  them  leam  the  wisdom,  power, 
and  goodness,  of  God,  and  that  sovereign  domin'on 
of  his,  into  which  plain  and  self-evident  truth  all 
these  difficult  dispensations  must  be  resolved. 
Zophar  had  made  a  vast  mystery  of  it,  ch.  xi.  7, 
"So  far  from  that,"  (says  Job,)  "that  what  we  are 
concerned  to  know,  we  may  learn  even  from  the 
inferior  creatures;  for  who  knows  not  from  all 
these?  Any  one  may  easily  gather  from  the  book 
of  the  creatures,  that  the  hand  of  the  Lord  has 
wrought  this,"  (_x>.  9.)  that  is,  "that  there  is  a  wise 
providence  which  guides  and  governs  all  these 
things  by  rules  which  we  are  neither  acquainted 
with,  nor  are  competent  judges  of."    Note.  Fron. 


JOB,  XII. 


fi5 


God's  sovereign  dominion  over  the  inferior  crea- 
tures, we  should  learn  to  acquiesce  in  all  his  dis- 
posals of  the  affairs  of  the  children  of  men,  though 
xoiitrary  to  our  measures. 

III.  He  resolves  all  into  the  absolute  propriety 
which  God  has  in  all  the  creatures;  (v.  10.)  In 
whose  hand  is  (he  soul  of  every  living  thing:  All 
the  creatures,  and  mankind  particularly,  derive 
their  being  from  him,  owe  their  being  to  him, 
depend  upon  him  for  the  support  of  it,  lie  at  his 
mercy,  are  under  his  direction  and  dominion,  and 
'•ntirelv  at  his  disposal,  and  at  his  summons  must 
resign  their  lives.  All  souls  are  his;  and  may  he 
not  do  what  he  will  with  his  own?  The  name 
Jehovah  is  used  here,  {v.  9.)  and  it  is  the  only 
time  that  we  meet  with  it  in  all  the  discourses 
between  Job  and  his  friends;  for  God  was,  in  that 
age,  more  known  by  the  name  of  Shaddai,  the 
Almighty. 

Those  words,  {v.  11.)  Doth  not  the  ear  try 
•words,  as  the  mouth  tastes  meat?  may  be  taken 
either  as  the  conclusion  to  the  foregoing  discourse, 
or  the  preface  to  what  follows.  The  mind  of  man 
has  as  good  a  faculty  of  discerning  between  ti'uth 
and  error,  when  duly  stated,  as  the  palate  has  of 
discerning  between  what  is  sweet  and  what  is 
bitter.  He  therefore  demands  from  his  friends  a 
liberty  to  judge  for  himself  of  what  they  had  said; 
and  desires  them  to  use  the  same  liberty  in  judging 
of  what  he  had  said;  nay,  he  seems  to  appeal  to 
any  man's  impartial  judgment  in  this  controversy; 
let  the  ear  try  the  words  on  both  sides,  and  it  would 
be  found  that  he  was  in  the  right.  Note,  The  ear 
must  try  words  before  it  receives  them  so  as  to 
subscribe  to  them.  As  by  the  taste  we  judge  what 
food  is  wholesome  to  the  body,  and  what  not,  so  by 
the  spirit  of  discerning  we  must  judge  what  doctrine 
is  sound,  and  savoury,  and  wholesome,  and  what 
•  not,  1  Cor.  X.  15. — xi.  13. 

12.  With  the  ancw&nt  is  wisdom;  and  in 
length  of  days  understanding.  13.  With 
him  is  wisdom  and  strength,  he  hath  coun- 
sel and  understanding.  14.  Behold,  he 
breaketh  down,  and  it  caimot  be  built 
again ;  he  shutteth  up  a  man,  and  there 
can  be  no  opening.  15.  Behold,  he  with- 
holdeth  the  waters,  and  they  dry  up ;  also 
he  sendeth  them  out,  and  they  overturn  the 
earth.  1 6.  With  him  is  strength  and  wis- 
dom :  the  deceived  and  the  deceiver  are 
his.  17.  He  leadeth  counsellors  away 
spoiled,  and  maketh  the  judges  fools.  18. 
He  looseth  the  bond  of  kings,  and  girdeth 
their  loins  with  a  girdle.  1 9.  He  leadeth 
princes  away  spoiled,  and  overthroweth 
the  mighty.  20.  He  removeth  away  the 
speech  of  the  trusty,  and  taketh  away  the 
understanding  of  the  aged.  21.  He  poureth 
contempt  upon  princes,  and  weakeneth  the 
strength  of  the  mighty.  22.  He  discover- 
eth  deep  things  out  of  darkness,  and  bring- 
eth  out  to  light  the  shadow  of  death.  23. 
He  increaseth  the  nations,  and  destroyeth 
them:  he  enlargeth  the  nations,  and  strait- 
eneth  them  again.  24.  He  taketh  away 
the  heart  of  the  chief  of  the  people  of  the 
ea.rth,  and  causeth  them  to  wander  in  a 
wilderness  where   there  is   no   way.      25. 

Vol.  III. — I 


They  grope  in  the  dark  without  light,  and 
he  maketh  them  to  stagger  like  a  drunken 
man. 

This  is  a  noble  discourse  of  Job's  concerning  the 
wisdom,  power,  and  sovereignty,  of  God,  in  order- 
ing and  disposing  of  all  the  affairs  of  the  children 
of  men,  according  to  the  counsel  of  his  own  will, 
which  none  dares  gainsay,  or  can  resist.  Take 
both  him  and  them  out  of  the  controversy  in  which 
they  were  so  waimly  engaged,  and  they  all  spake 
admirably  well;- but  in  that,  we  sometimes  scarcely 
know  what  to  make  of  them.  It  were  well  if  wise 
and  good  men,  that  differ  in  their  apprehensions 
about  lesser  things,  would  see  it  to  be  for  their 
honour  and  comfort,  and  the  edification  of  others, 
to  dwell  most  upon  those  great  things  in  which  they 
are  agreed.  On  this  subject.  Job  speaks  like  him- 
self; here  are  no  passionate  complaints,  no  peevish 
reflections,  but  every  thing  masculine  and  great. 

I.  He  asserts  the  unsearchable  wisdom,  and  ir- 
resistible power,  of  God.  It  is  allowed  that  among 
men  there  is  wisdom  and  understanding,  v.  12. 
But  it  is  to  be  found  only  with  some  few,  with  the 
ancient,  and  those  who  are  blessed  with  length  of 
days,  who  get  it  by  long  experience  and  constant 
experience;  and,  when  they  have  got  the  wisdom, 
they  have  lost  their  strength,  and  are  unable  to 
execute  the  results  of  their  wisdom:  but  now  with 
God  there  are  both  wisdom  and  strength,  wisdom 
to  design  the  best,  and  strength  to  accomplish 
what  is  designed;  he  does  not  get  counsel  and 
understanding,  as  we  do,  by  observation,  but  he 
has  it  essentially  and  eternally  in  himself,  v.  13. 
What  is  the  wisdom  of  ancient  men  compared 
with  the  wisdom  of  the  Ancient  of  days!  It  is 
but  little  that  we  know,  and  less  that  we  can 
do;  but  God  can  do  every  thing,  and  no  thought 
can  be  withholden  from  fiim.  Happy  they  who 
haN  e  this  God  for  their  God,  for  they  have  infinite 
wisdom  and  strength  engaged  for  them!  Foolish 
and  fruitless  are  all  the  attempts  of  men  against 

i  him,  V.  14.  He  breaketh  down,  and  it  cannot  be 
built  again.  Note,  There  is  no  contending  with 
the  Divine  Providence,  nor  breaking  the  measures' 
of  it.  As  he  had  said  before;  {ch.  ix'.  12. )  He  takes 
away,  and  who  can  hinder  him?  So  he  says  again, 
What  (iod  says,  cannot  be  gainsayed,  nor  what  he 
does,  undone.  There  is  no  rebuilding  what  God 
will  have  to  lie  in  ruins;  witness  the  tower  of  Ba- 
bel, which  the  undertakers  could  not  go  on  with; 
and  the  desolations  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah,  which 
could  ne\er  be  repaired.  See  Isa.  xxv.  2.  Ezek. 
xxvi.  15.  Rev.  xviii.  21.  There  is  no  releasing 
of  those  whom  God  has  condemned  to  a  perpetual 
imprisonment;  if  he  shut  up  a  man  by  sickness,  re- 
duce him  to  straits,  and  embarrass  him  in  his  af- 
fairs, there  can  be  no  opening.  He  shuts  up  in  the 
grave,  and  none  can  break  open  those  sealed  doors; 
shuts  up  in  hell,  in  chains  of  darkness,  and  none 
can  pass  that  great  gulf  fixed. 

II.  He  gives  an  instance,  for  the  proof  of  it,  in 
nature,  v.  15.  He  has  the  command  of  the  waters, 
binds  them  as  in  a  garment,  (Prov.  xxx.  4.)  holds 
them  in  the  hollow  of  his  hand;  (Isa.  xl.  12.)  and 
he  can  punish  the  children  of  men  either  by  the 
defect,  or  by  the  excess  of  them:  as  men  break  the 
laws  of  virtue  by  extremes  on  each  hand,  both  de- 
fects and  excesses,  while  virtue  is  in  the  mean,  so 
God  corrects  them  bv  extremes,  and  denies  them 
the  mercy  which  is  in  the  mean.  1.  Great  droughts 
are  sometiires  great  judgments;  he  withholds  the 
waters,  and  they  dry  ufi;  if  the  heaven  be  as  brass, 
the  earth  is  as  iron;  if  the  rain  be  denied,  fountains 
dr}^  up,  and  their  streams  are  wanted,  fields  are 
parched,  and  their  fruits  are  wanted,  Amos  iv.  7. 
2.  Great  wet  is  sometimes  a  great  judgment;  he 


06 


JOB,  Xll. 


:aises  the  waters,  and  overturns  the  earth,  the  pro- 
ductions of  it,  the  buildings  upon  it.  A  sweeping 
rain  is  said  to  leave  no  food,  Prov.  xxviii.  3.  See 
how  many  ways  God  has  of  contending  with  a  sin- 
ful people,  and  taking  from  them  abused,  forfeited, 
mercies;  and  how  utterly  unable  we  are  to  contend 
with  him !  If  we  might  invert  the  order,  this  verse 
would  fitly  refer  to  Noah's  flood,  that  ever-me- 
morable instance  of  the  divine  power.  God  then, 
in  wrath,  sent  the  waters  out,  and  they  overturn- 
ed the  earth;  but,  in  mercy,  he  withheld  them, 
shut  the  windows  of  heaven,  and  the  fountains  of 
the  great  deep,  and  then,  in  a  little  time,  they 
dried  up. 

III.  He  gives  many  instances  of  it  in  God's  pow- 
erful management  of  the  children  of  men,  crossing 
their  purposes,  and  serving  his  own  by  them  and 
upon  them,  overruling  all  their  counsels,  overpow- 
ering all  their  attempts,  and  overcoming  all  their 
oppositions.  What  changes  does  God  make  with 
men,  what  turns  does  he  give  to  them;  how  easily, 
how  surprisingly!  • 

In  general,  {y.  16.)  With  him  is  strength  and 
reason,  so  some  translate  it;  strength  and  consis- 
tency with  himself:  it  is  an  elegant  word  in  the 
original.  With  him  are  the  very  quintessence  and 
extract  of  wisdom.  With  him  are  power  and  all 
that  is,  so  some  read  it.  He  is  what  he  is  himself, 
and  by  him,  and  in  him,  all  things  subsist.  Having 
this  strength  and  wisdom,  he  knows  how  to  make 
use,  not  only  of  those  who  are  wise  and  good,  who 
willingly  and  designedly  serve  him,  but  even  of 
those  who  are  foolish  and  bad,  who,  one  would 
think,  could  be  made  no  way  serviceable  to  the  de- 
signs of  his  providence:  the  deceived  and  the  deceiv- 
er are  his;  the  simplest  men  that  are  deceived,  are 
not  below  his  notice,  the  subtlest  men  that  deceive, 
cannot,  with  all  their  subtilty,  escape  his  cogni- 
zance. The  world  is  full  of  deceit,  the  one  half  of 
mankind  cheats  the  other,  and  God  suffers  it,  and 
from  both  will,  at  last,  bring  glory  to  himself.  The 
deceivers  make  tools  of  the  deceived,  but  the  great 
God  makes  tools  of  them  both,  wherewith  he 
works,  and  none  can  let  him.  He  has  wisdom  and 
might  enough  to  manage  all  the  fools  and  knaves 
in  the  world,  and  knows  how  to  serve  his  own  pur- 
poses by  them,  notwithstanding  the  weakness  of 
the  one,'  and  the  wickedness  of  the  other.  When 
Jacob  by  a  fraud  got  the  blessing,  the  design  of 
God's  grace  was  served;  when  Ahab  was  drawn  by 
a  false  prophecy  into  an  expedition  that  was  his 
ruin,  the  design  of  God's  justice  was  served;  and  in 
both  the  deceived  and  the  deceiver  were  at  his  dis- 
posal. See  Ezek.  xiv.  9.  God  would  not  suffer 
the  sin  of  the  deceiver,  nor  the  misery  of  the  de- 
ceived, if  he  knew  not  how  to  set  bounds  to  both, 
and  bring  glory  to  himself  out  of  both.  Hallelujah, 
the  Lord  God  omnifiotent  thus  reigns;  and  it  is 
well  he  does,  for  otherwise  there  is  so  little  wisdom, 
and  so  little  honesty,  in  the  world,  that  it  had  all 
been  in  confusion  and  ruin  long  ago. 

He  next  descends  to  the  particular  instances  of 
the  wisdom  and  power  of  God  in  the  revolutions  of 
states  and  kingdoms:  for  thence  he  fetches  his 
proofs,  rather  than  from  the  like  operations  of  Pro- 
vidence concerning  private  persons  and  families; 
because  the  more  high  and  public  the  station  is,  in 
which  men  are  placed,  the  more  the  changes  that 
befall  them  are  taken  notice  of,  and,  consequently, 
the  more  illustriously  does  Providence  shine  forth 
in  them.  And  it  is  easy  to  argue.  If  God  can  thus 
turn  and  toss  the  great  pnes  of  the  earth,  like  a  ball 
in  a  large  place,  (as  the  projjhet  speaks,  Isa.  xxii. 
18.)  much  more  the  little  ones;  and  with  him,  to 
whom  states  and  kingdoms  must  submit,  it  is  surely 
the  greitest  ma-ine'ss  for  us  to  contend.  Some 
think  that  Job  here  refers  to  the  extirpation  of  those 


powerful  nations,  the  Rephaim,  the  Zuzim,  the 
Emim,  and  the  Horites,  (mentioned  Gen.  xi\  5, 
6.  Deut.  ii.  10.  20. )  in  which,  perhaps,  it  was  par- 
ticularly noticed,  how  strangely  they  were  infatuat- 
ed and  enfeebled;  if  so,  it  is  designed  to  show,  that, 
whenever  the  like  is  done  in  the  affairs  of  nations, 
it  is  God  that  doeth  it,  and  we  must  therein  observe 
his  so\  ereign  dominion,  even  over  those  that  think 
themselves  most  powerful,  politic,  and  absolute. 
Compare  this  with  that  of  Eliphaz,  ch,  v.  12,  &c. 
Let  us  gather  up  the  particular  changes  here 
specified,  which  God  maltes  upon  peisons,  either 
for  the  destruction  of  nations,  and  the  planting  of 
others  in  their  room,  or  for  the  turning  out  of  a 
particular  government  and  ministry,  and  the  eleva- 
tion of  another  in  its  room,  which  may  be  a  blessing 
to  the  kingdom;  witness  the  glorious  Revolution  in 
our  own  land  twenty  years  ago,  in  which  we  saw 
as  happy  an  exposition  as  ever  was  given  of  this 
discourse  of  Job  s. 

1.  Those  that  were  wise,  are  sometimes  strange- 
ly infatuated;  and  in  that  the  hand  of  God  must  be 
acknowledged;  [y.  17.)  He  leadeth  counsellors 
away  sfioiled,  as  trophies  of  his  victory  over  them, 
spoiled  of  all  the  honour  and  wealth  they  have  got 
by  their  policy,  nay,  spoiled  of  the  wisdom  itself  for 
which  they  have  been  celebrated,  and  the  success 
they  promised  themselves  in  their  projects:  his 
counsels  stand,  while  all  their  devices  are  bn  ught 
to  nought,  and  their  designs  baffled,  and  so  they  are 
spoiled  both  of  the  satisfaction  and  the  reputation 
of  their  wisdom.  He  maketh  the  judges  fools:  by 
a  work  on  their  minds  he  deprives  them  of  theii 
qualifications  for  business,  and  so  they  become  real- 
ly fools;  and  by  his  disposal  of  their  affairs  he  makes 
the  issue  and  event  of  their  projects  to  be  quite 
contrary  to  what  they  themselves  intended,  and 
so  he  makes  them  look  like  fools.  The  counsel  of 
Ahithophel,  one  in  whom  this  scripture  was  re- 
markably fulfilled,  became  foolishness,  and  he,  ac- 
cording to  his  name,  the  brother  of  a  fool.  See 
Isa.  xix.  13,  The  firinces  of  Zoan  are  become  fools, 
they  have  seduced  Egyfit,  even  they  that  are  the 
stay  of  the  tribes  thereof  Let  not  the  wise  man, 
therefore,  glory  in  his  wisdom,  nor  the  ablest  coun- 
sellors and  judges  be  proud  of  their  station,  but 
humbly  depend  upon  God  for  the  continuance  nf 
their  abilities.  Even  the  aged,  who  seem  to  hold 
their  wisdom  by  prescription,  and  think  they  have 
got  it  by  their  own  industry,  and  therefore  have  an 
indefeisible  title  to  it,  may  yet  be  deprived  of  it, 
and  often  are,  by  the  infirmities  of  age,  which  make 
them  twice  children;  he  taketh  away  the  under- 
standing of  the  aged,  v.  20.  The  aged,  who  were 
most  depended  on  for  advice,  fail  those  that  de- 
pended on  them.  We  read  of  an  old  and  yet  fool- 
ish king,  Eccl.  iv.  13. 

2.  Those  that  were  high  and  in  authority,  arc 
strangely  brought  down,  impoverished,  and  enslav- 
ed; and  it  is  God  that  humbles  them;  (v.  18.)  He 
looseth  the  bond  of  kings,  and  taketh  from  them 
the  power  wherewith  they  ruled  their  subjects, 
perhaps  enslaved  them,  and  ruled  them  with  rigour,- 
stnps  them  of  all  the  ensigns  of  their  honour  and 
authority,  and  all  the  supports  of  their  tyranny; 
unbuckles  their  belts,  so  that  the  sword  drops  from 
their  side,  and  then  no  marvel  if  the  crown  quickly 
drops  from  their  heads;  on  which,  immediately  fol- 
lows the  girding  of  their  loins  with  a  girdle,  a  badge 
of  servitude,  for  servants  went  with  their  loins  girt. 
Thus  he  leads  great  princes  away  si^oiled  of  all 
their  power  and  wealth,  and  that  in  which  they 
pleased  and  prided  themselves,  v.  19.  Note,  Kings 
are  not  exempt  from  God's  jurisdiction.  To  us 
thev  are  gods,  but  men  to  him,  and  subject  to  more 
than  the  common  changes  of  human  life. 

3.  Those  that  were  strong,  are  strangelv  weak- 


JOB   XIII. 


67 


ened;  and  it  is  God  that  weakens  them,  (v.  21.) 
and  overthroivs  the  mighty,  v.  19.  Strong  bodies 
are  weakened  by  age  and  sickness,  powerful  armies 
moulder  and  come  to  nothing,  and  their  strength 
will  not  secure  them  from  a  fatal  overthrow.  No 
force  can  stand  before  Omnipotence,  no  not  that  of 
Go  iath. 

4.  Those  that  were  famed  for  eloquence,  and 
entrusted  with  public  business,  are  strangely  silenc- 
ed, and  h.ive  nothing  to  say;  {v.  20.)  He  removeth 
away  the  f/ieech  of  the  trusty,  so  that  they  cannot 
speak  as  they  intended,  and  as  they  used  to  do, 
with  freedom  and  clearness,  but  blunder  and  falter, 
and  make  not.iing  of  it.  Or,  they  cannot  speak 
what  they  intended,  but  the  contrary,  as  Balaam, 
who  blessed  those  whom  he  was  called  to  curse. 
Let  not  the  ui-ator  therefore  be  proud  of  his  rheto- 
ric, nor  use  it  to  any  bad  purposes,  lest  God  take 
it  away,  whri  made  man's  mouth. 

5.  Those  th.it  were  honoured  and  admired, 
strangely  fall  into  disgrace;  (x".  21.)  He  fioureth 
contemfit  iifion  princes.  He  leaves  them  to  them- 
selves to  do  mean  tilings,  or  alters  the  opinions  of 
men  concerning  them.  If  princes  themselves  dis- 
honour G  k1,  and  despise  him,  if  they  do  indignities 
to  the  people  of  God,  and  trample  upon  them,  they 
shall  be  lightly  esteemed,  and  God  will  pour  con- 
tempt upon  them.  See  Ps.  cvii.  40.  Commonly, 
none  more  abject  in  themseh  es,  nor  more  abused 
by  others  when  they  are  down,  than  those  who 
were  haughty  and  insolent  when  they  were  in 
power. 

6.  That  which  was  secret,  and  lay  hid,  is  strangely 
brought  to  light,  and  laid  open;  {y.  22.)  He  dis- 
covers dec/i  thing's  out  of  darkness.  Plots  closely 
laid  are  discovered  and  defeated;  wickedness  closely 
committed,  and  artfully  concealed,  is  discovered, 
and  the  guilty  brought  to  condign  punishment; 
secret  treasons,  (Eccl.  x.  20.)  secret  murders,  se- 
cret whoredoms.  The  cabinet-councils  of  princes 
are  before  God's  eye,  2  Kings  vi.  11. 

7.  Kingdoms  have  their  ebbings  and  Rowings, 
their  waxings  and  wanings;  and  both  are  from 
God;  (f.  23.)  He  sometimes  increases  their  num- 
bers, and  enlarges  their  bounds,  so  that  they  make 
a  figure  among  the  nations,  and  become  formidable; 
but,  after  a  while,  by  some  undiscerned  cause,  per- 
haps, they  are  destroyed  and  straitened,  made  few 
and  poor,  cut  short,  and  many  of  them  cut  off,  and 
so  they  are  rendered  despicable  among  their  neigh- 
bours; and  they  that  were  the  head,  become  the 
tail,  of  the  nations.     See  Ps.  cvii.  38,  39. 

8.  They  that  were  bold  and  courageous,  and 
made  nothing  of  dangers,  are  strangely  cowed  and 
dispirited;  and  this  also  is  the  Lord's  doing;  {v. 
24.)  He  takcth  'away  the  heart  of  the  chief  of  the 
peofile,  that  were  their  leaders  and  commanders, 
and  were  most  famed  for  their  martial  fire  and 
great  achievements;  when  any  thing  was  to  be 
done,  they  were  heartless,  and  ready  to  flee  at  the 
shaking  of  a  leaf.     Ps.  Ixxvi.  5. 

9.  They  that  were  driving  on  their  projects  with 
full  speedi,  are  strangely  bewildered  and  at  a  loss; 
they  know  not  where  they  are,  nor  what  they  do, 

'  are  unsteady  in  their  counsels,  and  uncertain  in 
their  motions,  off  and  on,  this  way  and  that  way, 
wandering  like  men  in  a  desert,  {y.  24. )  groping 
like  men  in  the  dark,  and  staggering  like  men  in 
drink,  v.  25.  Isa.  lix.  10.  Note,  God  can  soon 
non-plus  the  deepest  politicians,  and  bring  the 
greatest  wits  to  their  wit's  end;  to  show  that  where- 
in they  deal  proudly,  he  is  above  them. 

Thus  are  the  revolutions  of  kingdoms  wonder- 
fully brought  about  by  an  overruling  Providence. 
Heaven  and  earth  are  shaken,  but  the  Lord  sits 
King  for  ever,  and  with  him  we  look  for  u  kingdom 
that  cannot  be  shaken. 


CHAP.  XIII. 

Job  here  comes  to  make  application  of  what  he  had  said  in 
the  foregoing  chapter ;  and  now  we  have  him  not  in  so 
good  a  temper  as  he  was  in  then ;  for,  I.  He  is  very 
bold  with  his  friends,  comparing  himself  with  them, 
notwithstanding  the  mortifications  he  was  under,  y.  1,2. 
Condemning  them  for  their  falsehood,  their  iorwardness 
to  judgCj  their  partiality  and  deceitfulness,  under  colour 
of  pleading  God's  cause,  (v.  4.  .  8)  and  threatening  them 
with  the  judgments  of  God  for  their  so  doing,  (v.  9  .  . 
12.)  desiring  them  to  be  silent,  (v.  5,  13,  17.)  Ard, 
turning  from  them  to  God,  v.  3.  II.  He  is  very  bold 
with  his  God.  I.  In  some  expressions,  his  faith  is  very 
bold,  yet  that  is  not  more  bold  than  welcome,  v.  15,  16, 
18.  But,  2.  In  other  expressions,  his  passion  is  rather 
too  bold  in  expostulations  with  God  concerning  the  de- 
plorable condition  he  was  in,  (v.  14,  19,  &c.)  complain- 
ing of  the  confusion  he  was  in,  (v.  20  . .  22.)  and  the  loss 
he  was  at  to  find  out  the  sin  that  provoked  God  thus  to 
afflict  him ;  and,  in  short,  of  the  rigour  of  God's  pro- 
ceedings against  him,  v.  23 . .  28. 

I.  T  O,  mine  eye  hath  seen  all  this.,  mine 
jLA  ear  hath  heard  and  understood  it.  2. 
What  ye  know,  the  same  do  I  know  also:  1 
am  not  inferior  unto  you.  3.  Surely  I  would 
speak  to  the  Almighty,  and  I  desire  to  rea- 
son with  God.  4.  But  ye  are  forgers  of  lies, 
ye  are  all  physicians  of  no  value.  3.  Oh 
that  you  would  altogether  hold  your  peace  ! 
and  it  should  be  your  wisdom.  6.  Hear 
now  my  reasoning,  and  hearken  to  the 
pleadings  of  my  lips.  7.  Will  you  speak 
wickedly  for  God  ?  and  talk  deceitfully 
for  him  ?  8.  Will  ye  accept  his  person  ? 
will  ye  contend  for  God  ?  9.  Is  it  good  thai 
he  should  search  you  put  ?  or,  as  one  man 
mocketh  another,  do  ye  so  mock  him  ?  1 0. 
He  will  surely  reprove  you,  if  ye  do  secret- 
ly accept  persons.  11.  Shall  not  his  ex- 
cellency make  you  afraid  ?  and  his  dread 
fall  upon  you?  12.  Your  remembrances 
are  like  unto  ashes,  your  bodies  to  bodies 
of  clay. 

Job  here  warmly  expresses  his  resentments  of  the 
unkindness  of  his  friends. 

I.  He  comes  up  with  them  as  Cne  that  understood 
the  matter  in  dispute  as  well  as  they,  and  did  not 
need  to  be  taught  by  them,  v.  1,  2.  They  com- 
pelled him,  as  the  Corinthians  did  Paul,  to  com- 
mend himself  and  his  own  knowledge,  yet  not  in  a 
way  of  self-applause,  but  of  self-justification.  All 
he  had  said  before,  his  eye  had  seen  confirmed  by 
many  instances,  and  his  ear  had  heard  seconded  by 
many  authorities,  and  he  well  understood  it,  and 
what  use  to  make  of  it.  Happy  they,  who  do  not 
only  see  and  hear,  but  understand,  "the  greatness, 
glory,  and  sovereignty,  of  God.  This,  he  thought, 
would  justify  what  he  had  said  before,  {ch.  xii.  3.) 
which  he  repeats  here;  {v.  2.)  **  JVhat  ye  know, 
the  same  do  I  know  also,  so  that  I  need  not  come  to 
you  to  be  taught;  lam  not  inferior  unto  you  in  wis- 
dom." Note,  Those  who  enter  into  disputation, 
enter  into  temptation  to  magnify  themselves,  and 
vilify  their  brethren,  more  than  is  fit,  and  therefore 
ought  to  watch  and  pray  against  the  workings  of 
pride.  ,v, 

n.  He  turns  from  them  lb  God;  {v.  3.)  Surely  I 
would  speak  to  the  Abnighty;  as  if  he  had  said. 
'*  I  can  promise  myself  no  satisfaction  in  talking  to 
you;  O  that  I  might  have  liberty  to  reason  with 
God!  He  would  not  be  so  hard  upon  me  as  ycu 
are,"*    The  prince  himself  will  perhaps  give  au- 


68 


JOB,  XIII. 


dience  to  a  poor  petitioner  with  more  mildness,  pa- 
tience, and  condescension,  than  the  servants  will.  Job 
would  rather  argue  with  God  himself  than  with  his 
friends.  See  here,  1.  What  confidence  they  have 
toward  God,  whose  hearts  coiyiemn  them  not  of 
reigning  hypocrisy:  they  can,  with  humble  bold- 
ness, appear  before  him  and  appeal  to  him.  2. 
What  comfort  they  have  in  God,  whose  neighbours 
unjustly  condemn  them:  if  they  may  not  speak  to 
them  with  any  hopes  of  a  fair  hearing,  yet  they 
may  speak  to  the  Almighty,  they  have  easy  access 
to  him,  and  shall  find  acceptance  with  him. 

III.  He  condemns  them  for  their  unjust  and  un- 
charitable treatment  of  him,  v.  4.  1.  They  falsely 
accused  him,  and  that  was  unjust;  Ye  are  forgers 
of  lies.  They  framed  a  wrong  hypothesis  con- 
cerning the  Divine  Providence,  and  misrepresented 
it,  as  if  it  did  never  remarkably  afflict  any  but 
wicked  men  in  this  world;  and  from  thence  they 
drew  a  false  judgment  concerning  Job,  that  he  was 
certainly  a  hypocrite.  For  this  gross  mistake,  both 
in  doctrine  and  application,  he  thinks  an  indictment 
of  forgery  lies  against  them.  To  speak  lies  is  bad 
enough,  though  but  at  second  hand,  but  to  forge 
them  with  contrivance  and  deliberation  is  much 
worse:  yet  against  this  wrong  neither  innocency 
nor  excellency  will  be  a  fence.  2.  They  basely 
deceived  him,  and  that  was  unkind.  They  under- 
took his  cure,  and  pretended  to  be  his  physicians, 
but  they  were  all  physicians  of  no  value;  "idol- 
physicians,  who  can  do  me  no  more  good  than  an 
idol  can."  They  were  worthless  physicians,  who 
neither  understood  his  case,  nor  knew  how  to  pre- 
scribe to  him;  mere  empirics,  who  pretended  to 
great  things,  but  in  conference  added  nothing  to 
him — ^he  was  never  the  wiser  for  all  they  said. 
Thus,  to  broken  hearts  and  wounded  consciences, 
all  creatures,  without  Christ,  are  physicians  of  no 
value,  on  which  one  may  spend  all,  and  be  never 
the  better,  but  rather  grow  worse,  Mark  v.  26. 

IV.  He  begs  they  would  be  silent,  and  give  him 
a  patient  hearing,  v.  5,  6.  1.  He  thinks  it  would 
be  a  credit  to  themselves,  if  they  would  say  no 
more,  having  said  too  much  ah-eady;  "  Hold  your 
fieace,  and  it  shall  be  your  ivisdom,  for  thereby  )^ou 
will  conceal  your  ignorance  and  ill-nature,  which 
now  appear  in  all  you  say. "  They  pleaded  that 
they  could  not  forbear  speaking;  {ch.  iv.  2. — xi.  2, 
3.)  but  he  tells  them  that  they  had  more  consulted 
their  own  reputation,  if  they  had  enjoined  them- 
selves silence.  Better  say  nothing  than  nothing  to 
the  purpose,  or  that  which  tends  to  the  dishonour 
of  God,  and  the  grief  of  our  brethren.  Even  a 
fool,  when  he  holds  his  fieace,  is  counted  wise,  be- 
cause nothing  appears  to  the  contrary,  Prov.  xvii. 
28.  And  as  silence  is  an  evidence  of  wisdom,  so  it 
IS  a  means  of  it,  as  it  gives  time  to  think  and  hear. 
2.  He  thinks  it  would  be  a  piece  of  justice  to  him, 
to  hear  what  he  had  to  say;  Hear  novj  my  reason- 
ing. Perhaps,  though  they  did  not  interrupt  him 
in  his  discourse,  yet  they  seemed  careless,  and  did 
not  much  heed  what  he  said;  he  therefore  begs 
they  would  not  only  hear,  but  hearken.  Note,  We 
should  be  verv  willing  and  glad  to  hear  what  those 
have  to  say  for  themselves,  whom,  upon  any  ac- 
count, we  are  tempted  to  have  hard  thoughts  of. 
Many  a  man,  if  he  cculd  but  be  fairly  heard,  would 
be  fairly  acquitted,  even  in  the  consciences  of  those 
that  run  him  down. 

V.  He  endeavours  Jo  convince  them  of  the  wrong 
they  did  to  God's  honour,  while  they  pretended  to 
])lead  for  him,  v.  7{Sl*-  They  valued  themselves 
upon  it,  that  they  spaKe^for  God,  were  advocates 
for  him,  and  had  undertaken  to  justify  him  and  his 
proceedings  against  Job.  And  being  (as  they 
thought)  of  counsel  for  the  Sovereign,  they  ex- 
pected not  only  the  ear  of  the  court,  and  the  last 


word,  but  judgment  on  their  side.  But  Job  tells 
them  plainly,  1.  That  God  and  his  cause  did  not 
need  such  advocates;  "Will  you  think  to  contend 
for  God,  as  if  his  justice  were  clouded,  and  wanted 
to  be  cleared  up,  or  as  if  he  were  at  a  loss  what  to 
say,  and  wanted  you  to  speak  for  him?  Will  you, 
who  are  so  weak  and  passionate,  put  in  for  the  ho- 
nour of  pleading  God's  cause.""'  Good  work  ought 
not  to  be  put  into  bad  hands.  Will  you  accept  hia 
fierson?  If  those  who  have  not  right  on  their  side, 
carry  their  cause,  it  is  by  the  partiality  of  the  judge 
in  favour  of  their  persons;  but  God's  cause  is  so 
just,  that  it  needs  no  such  methods  for  the  support 
of  it.  He  is  a  God,  and  can  plead  for  liimseU"; 
(Judg.  vi.  31.)  and  if  you  were  for  e\er  silent,  the 
heavens  would  declare  his  righteousness.  2.  That 
God's  cause  suffered  by  such  management.  Under 
pretence  ( f  justifying  God  in  afflicting  Job,  they 
magisterially  condemn  him  as  a  hypocrite  and  a 
bad  man.  "This"  (says  he)  "is  speaking  wickedly," 
(for  uncharitableness  and  censoriousness  are  wick- 
edness, great  wickedness;  it  is  an  offence  to  God  to 
wrong  our  brethren,)  "  it  is  talking  deceitfully,  for 
you  condemn  one  whom  yet  perhaps  your  own  con- 
sciences, at  the  same  time,  cannot  but  acquit.  Your 
principles  are  false,  and  your  arguings  fallacious; 
and  will  it  excuse  you,  to  say.  It  is  for  God?"  No, 
for  a  good  intention  will  not  justify,  much  less  will 
it  sanctify,  a  bad  word  or  action.  God's  truth  needs 
not  our  lie,  nor  God's  cause  either  our  sinful  policies 
or  our  sinful  passions.  The  wrath  of  man  works 
not  the  righteousness  of  God,  nor  may  we  do  evil, 
that  good  may  come,  Rom.  iii.  7,  8.  "Pious  frauds 
(as  they  call  them)  are  impious  cheats;  and  devciit 
persecutions  horrid  profanations  of  the  name  of 
God,  as  theirs  who  hated  their  brethren,  and  cast 
them  out,  saying.  Let  the  Lord  be  glorified,  Isa. 
Ixvi.  5.  John  xvi.  2. 

VI.  He  endeavours  to  possess  them  with  a  feiir 
of  God's  judgment,  and  so  to  bring  them  to  a  better 
temper.  Let  them  not  think  to  impose  upon  God 
as  they  might  upon  a  man  like  themseh  es,  nor  ex- 
pect to  gain  his  countenance  in  their  bad  practices, 
by  pretending  a  zeal  for  him  ond  his  honour.  "  As 
one  man  mocks  another  by  flattering  him,  do  you 
think  so  to  mock  him  and  d'eceiv  e  him?"  Assured- 
ly, those  who  think  to  put  a  cheat  upon  God,  will 
prove  to  have  put  a  cheat  upon  themselves;  Be  not 
deceived,  God  is  not  mocked. 

That  they  might  not  think  thus  to  jest  with  God, 
and  affront  him,  he  would  have  them  to  consider 
both  God  and  themselves,  and  then  they  would  find 
themselves  unable  to  enter  into  judgment  with  him. 

1.  I^et  them  consider  what  a  God  he  is,  into 
whose  service  they  had  thus  thrust  themselves,  and 
to  whom  they  really  did  so  much  disservice,  and 
inquire  whether  they  could  give  him  a  good  account 
of  what  thev  did. 

Consider,'  (1.)  The  strictness  rf  his  scrutiny  and 
inquiries  concerning  them;  (f.  9.)  ".Is  it  good  that 
he  should  search  yoti  out?  Can  you  bear  to  ha\  e 
the  principles  looked  into,  which  you  go  upi  n  in 
your  censures,  and  to  have  the  bottom  of  the  mat- 
ter found  out?"  Note,  It  concerns  us  all  seriously 
to  consider  whether  it  will  be  to  our  advantage  or 
no,  that  God  searches  the  heart.  It  is  good  to  an 
upright  man,  who  means  honestly,  that  God  should 
search  him,  therefore  he  prays 'for  it;  Search  me, 
O  God,  and  know  my  heart.  God's  omniscience  is 
a  witness  of  his  sincerity;  but  it  is  bad  to  him  who 
looks  one  wav  and  rows  another,  that  God  should 
search  him  o'ut,  and  lay  him  open  to  his  confusion, 

(2.)  The  severity  of  his  rebukes  and  displeasure 
against  them;  (r. 'lO.)  If  ye  do  accept  fierson.^, 
though  but  secretly  and  in  heart,  he  will  surebi  vr 
prove  you;  he  will  be  so  far  from  being  pleased 
with  vo\ir  censures  of  me,  tho\igh  under  rnh  ur  of 


JOB,  XIII. 


C9 


vindicating  him,  that  he  will  resent  them  as  a  great 
jjrovocation,  hs  any  prince  or  great  man  would,  if  a 
base  action  were  done  under  the  sanction  of  his 
name,  and  under  the  colour  of  advancing  his  inte- 
rest." N(,ite,  What  we  do  amiss,  we  shall  certainly 
be  reproved  for,  one  way  or  other,  one  time  or 
other,  though  it  be  done  ever  so  secretly. 

(3.)  The  ternn-  of  his  majesty,  which,  if  they 
would  duly  stand  in  awe  of,  they  would  not  do  that 
which  would  make  them  obnoxious  to  his  wrath; 
{v.  11.)  "  Shall  not  /lis  excellency  make  you  afraid? 
You  that  ha\  e  great  knowledge  of  God,  and  profess 
religion  and  a  fear  t.f  him,  how  dare  you  talk  at 
this  rate,  and  give  yoursel.es  so  great  a  liberty  of 
speech?  Ought  ye  not  to  ivalk  and  talk  in  the  fear 
of  God?  Nell.  v.  9.  Should  not  his  dread  fall  ufion 
you,  and  give  cheek  to  your  passions?"  Methinks, 
Job  speaks  this  as  one  that  did  himself  know  the 
terror  of  the  Lord,  and  lived  in  a  holy  fear  of  him, 
whate\'er  his  fi-iends  suggested  to  the  contraiy. 
Note,  [1.]  There  is  in  (iod  a  dreadful  excellency. 
He  is  the  most  excellent  Being,  has  all  excellencies 
in  himself,  and  in  each  infinitely  excels  any  crea- 
ture. His  excellencies  in  themselves  are  amiable 
and  lovely.  He  is  the  most  beautiful  Being;  but, 
considering  man's  distance  from  God  by  nature, 
and  his  detection  and  degeneracy  by  sin,  his  excel- 
lencies are  dreadful.  His  power,  holiness,  justice, 
yea,  and  his  goodness  too,  are  dreadful  excellencies. 
They  shall  fear  the  Lord  and  his  goodness.  [2.] 
A  holy  awe  of  this  dreadful  excellency  should  fall 
up^n  us,  and  make  us  afraid.  This  would  awaken 
impenitent  sinners,  and  bring  them  to  repentance, 
and  would  influence  all  to  be  careful  to  please  him, 
and  afraid  of  offending  him. 

2.  Let  them  consider  themselves,  and  what  an 
unequal  match  they  were  for  this  great  God;  {x>. 
12.)  "Your  remembrances  (all  that  in  you  for 
which  you  hope  to  be  remembered  when  you  are 
gone)  are  like  unto  ashes,  worthless  and  weak,  and 
easily  trampled  on  and  blown  away;  your  bodies  are 
like  bodies  of  clay,  mouldering  and  coming  to  no- 
thing; your  memories,  you  think,  will  survive  your 
bodies;  but,  alas!  they  are  like  ashes  which  will  be 
shovelled  up  with  your  dust."  Note,  The  conside- 
ration of  our  own  meanness  and  mortality  should 
make  us  afraid  of  offending  God,  and  is  a  good  rea- 
son why  we  should  not  despise  and  trample  upon 
our  brethren.  ■*  Bishop  Patrick  gives  another  sense 
of  this  verse:  "Your  remonstrances  on  God's  be- 
half are  no  better  than  dust,  and  the  arguments 
you  accumulate,  but  like  so  many  heaps  of  dirt." 

1 3.  Hold  your  peace,  let  me  alone,  that 
I  may  speak,  and  let  come  on  me  what 
will.  14,  Wherefore  do  T  take  my  flesh  in 
my  teeth,  and  put  my  life  in  my  hand  ?  1 5. 
Though  he  slay  me,  yet  will  I  trust  in  him: 
but  I  will  maintain  mine  own  ways  before 
him.  1 6.  He  also  shall  be  my  salvation : 
for  a  hypocrite  shall  not  come  before  him. 
1 7.  Hear  diligently  my  speech  and  my  de- 
claration with  your  ears.  1 8.  Behold  now, 
I  have  ordered  my  cause;  I  know  that  I 
shall  be  justified.  19.  Who  zs  he  ^Aa^  will 
plead  with  me  ?  for  now,  if  I  hold  my 
tongue,  I  shall  give  up  the  ghost.  20.  Only 
do  not  two  things  unto  me ;  then  will  I  not 
hide  myself  from  thee.  21.  Withdraw  thy 
hand  far  from  me ;  and  let  not  thy  dread 
make  me  afraid :  22.  Then  call  thou,  and  I 


will  answer;  or  let  me  speak,  and  answer 
thou  me. 

Job  here  takes  hold,  fast  hold,  of  his  integrity,  as 
one  that  was  resolved  not  to  let  it  go,  nor  suffer  it  to 
be  wrested  from  him:  his  firmness  in  this  matter  is 
commendable,  and  his  warmness  excusable. 

I.  He  entreats  his  friends  and  all  the  company  to 
let  him  alone,  and  not  inteirupt  him  in  what  he 
was  about  to  say,  (t;.  13. )  but  diligently  to  hearken 
to  it,  V.  17.  He  would  have  his  own  protestation  to 
be  decisive,  for  none  but  God  and  himself  knew  his 
heart;  "  Be  silent,  therefore,  and  let  me  hear  no 
more  of  you,  but  hearken  diligently  to  what  I  say, 
and  let  my  own  oath  for  confirmation  be  an  end  of 
the  strife." 

II.  He  resolves  to  adhere  to  the  testimony  his 
own  conscience  gave  of  his  integrity;  and  though 
his  friends  called  it  obstinacy,  that  should  not  shake 
his  constancy;  "I  will  speak  in  my  own  aefence, 
and  let  come  on  me  what  will,  v.  13.  Let  my  friends 
put  what  construction  they  pilease  upon  it,  and  think 
the  worse  of  me  for  it,  I  hope  God  will  not  make 
my  necessary  defence  to  be  my  o/fence,  as  you  do: 
he  will  justify  me,  (f.  18.)  and  then  nothing  can 
come  amiss  to  me."  Note,  Those  that  are  upright, 
and  have  the  assurance  of  their  uprightness,  may 
cheerfully  welcome  every  event.  Come  what  will, 
bene  firse/iaratum  pectus — they  are  ready  for  it. 
He  resolves  {v.  15.)  that  he  will  maintain  his  own 
ways;  he  will  never  part  with  the  satisfaction  he 
had  in  having  walked  uprightly  with  Gcd;  but, 
though  he  could  not  justify  every  word  he  had 
spoken,  yet,  in  the  general,  his  ways  were  good, 
and  he  would  maintain  it;  and  why  should  he  not, 
since  that  was  his  great  support  under  his  present 
exercises,  as  it  was  Hezekiah's,  A^ow,  Lord,  re- 
member how  I  have  walked  before  tfiee!  Nav,  he 
would  n(t  only  not  betray  his  own  cause,  oi-  give  it 
up,  but  he  would  openly  avow  his  sincerity,  fc  t-, 
{v.  19.)  "If  I  hold  my  tongue,  and  do  not  speak 
for  myself,  my  silence  now  will  for  ever  silence  me, 
for  I  shall  certainly  give  up  the  ghost,"  v.  19.  "  If 
I  cannot  be  cleared,  yet  let  me  be  eased  by  what  I 
sav,"  as  Elihu,  ch.  xxxii.  17,  20. 

ill.  He  complains  rf  the  extremity  cf  pain  and 
misery  he  was  in;  {x>.  14.)  Wherefore  do  J  take  my 
flesh  in  my  teeth?  That  is,  1.  "Why  do  I  suffer 
such  agonies?  I  cannot  but  wonder  that  God  should 
lay  so  much  upon  me,  when  he  knows  I  am  not  a 
wicked  man."  He  was  ready,  not  only  to  rend  his 
clothes,  but  even  to  tear  his  flesh,  through  the 
greatness  of  his  affliction,  and  saw  himself  at  the 
brink  of  death,  and  his  life  in  his  hand,  yet  his 
friends  could  not  charge  him  with  any  enormous 
crime,  nor  could  he  himself  discover  any;  no  mar- 
vel then  that  he  was  in  such  confusion.  2.  "Why 
do  I  stifle  and  smother  the  protestations  of  my  in- 
nocency?"  When  a  man  with  great  difficulty  keeps 
in  what  he  would  say,  he  bites  his  lips:  "Now," 
says  he,  "  why  may  not  I  take  liberty  to  speak, 
since  I  do  but  vex  myself,  add  to  my  torment,  and 
endanger  my  life,  by  refraining?"  Note,  It  would 
vex  the  most  patient  man,  when  he  has  lost  every 
thing  else,  to  be  denied  the  comfort  (if  he  deserves 
it)  of  a  good  crnscience  and  a  good  name. 

IV.  He  comforts  himself  in  God,  and  still  keeps 
hold  of  his  confidenj[:e  in  him.     Obserxe  here, 

1.  What  he  dep|^nds  upj|^God  for:  Justification 
and  Salvation,  the  two  S^H  things  we  hope  for 
through  Christ.  (1.)  Jufl^Etion;  {y.  18.)  I  have 
ordered  my  cause,  a'nd,^^|Pthe  whole  matter,  I 
know  that  I  shall  be  iust'Jied.  This  he  knew,  be- 
cause he  knew  that  his  Redeemer  lived,  ch.  xix.  25. 
They  whose  hearts  are  upright  with  God,  in  walk- 
ing not  after  the  flesh,  but  after  the  Spirit,  may  be 


70 


JOB,  XIII. 


sure  that  through  Christ  there  shall  be  no  condem- 
nation to  them,  but  that,  whoever  lays  any  thing  to 
their  charge,  they  shall  be  justified.  (2.)  Salva- 
tion; {v.  16.)  He  also  shall  be  my  salvation.  He 
means  it  not  of  temporal  salvation,  he  had  little  ex- 
pectation of  that,  but,  concerning  his  eternal  salva- 
tion, he  was  very  confident  that  God  would  not 
only  be  his  Saviour  to  make  him  happy,  but  his 
Salvation,  in  the  vision  and  fruition  of  whom  he 
should  be  happy.  And  the  reason  why  he  depended 
on  God  for  salvation,  is,  Because  a  hypocrite  shall 
not  come  before  him.  He  knew  himself  not  to  be  a 
hypocrite,  and  that  none  but  hypocrites  are  reject- 
ed of  God,  and  therefore  concluded  he  should  not 
be  rejected.  Sincerity  is  our  evangelical  perfection, 
nothing  will  ruin  us  but  the  want  of  that. 

2.  With  what  constancy  he  depends  upon  him; 
Though  he  slay  me,  yet  will  I  trust  in  him,  v.  15. 
This  is  a  high  expression  of  faith,  and  what  we 
sliould  all  labour  to  come  up  to;  to  trust  in  God, 
though  he  slay  us.  That  is,  we  must  be  well 
pleased  with  God  as  a  Friend,  e\  en  then  when  he 
seems  to  come  forth  against  us  as  an  Enemy,  ch. 
xxiii.  8- -10.  We  must  believe  that  all  shall  work 
for  good  to  us,  e\en  then  when  all  seems  to  make 
against  us,  Jer.  xxiv.  5.  We  must  proceed  and 
persevere  in  the  way  of  our  duty,  though  it  costs  us 
uU  that  is  dear  to  us  in  this  world,  even  life  itself, 
Heb.  xi.  35.  We  must  depend  upon  the  peiform- 
aiice  of  the  promise,  when  all  the  ways  leading 
to  it  are  shut  up,  Rom.  i\ .  18.  We  must  rejoice  in 
Ciod,  when  we  have  nothing  else  to  rejoice  in, 
and  cleave  to  him,  yea,  though  we  cannot  for  the 
present  find  comfort  in  him.  In  a  dying  hour,  we 
must  derive  from  him  li\  ing  comforts;  and  this  is 
to  trust  in  him,  though  he  slay  us. 

V.  He  wishes  to  argue  the  case  even  with  God 
himself,  if  he  might  but  have  leave  to  settle  the 
preliminaries  of  the  treaty,  v.  20«'22.  He  had 
desired  {v.  3. )  to  reason  with  God,  and  is  still  of 
the  same  mind;  he  will  not  hide  himself,  that  is,  he 
will  not  decline  the  trial,  nor  dread  the  issue  of  it, 
but  under  two  provisos,  1.  That  his  body  might 
not  be  tortured  with  this  exquisite  pain;  *'  With- 
draw thine  hand  far  from  me;  for,  while  I  am  in 
this  extremity,  I  am  fit  for  nothing.  I  can  make  a 
shift  to  talk  with  my  friends,  but  I  know  not  how  to 
address  myself  to  thee."  When  we  are  to  converse 
with  God,  we  have  need  to  be  composed,  and  as 
free  as  possible  from  every  thing  that  may  make  us 
uneasy.  2.  That  his  mind  might  not  be  terrified 
with  the  tremendous  majesty  of  God;  *' Let  not 
thy  dread  make  me  afraid;  either  let  the  manifes- 
.ations  of  thy  presence  be  familiar,  or  let  me  be 
enabled  to  bear  them  without  disorder  and  disturb- 
ance." Moses  himself  trembled  before  God,  so 
did  Isaiah  and  Habakkuk;  O  God,  thou  art  terrible 
even  in  thy  holy  places.  "Lord,"  says  Job,  '•  let 
me  not  be  put  into  such  a  consternation  of  spirit, 
together  Avith  this  bodily  affliction,  for  then  I  must 
certainly  drop  the  cause,  and  shall  make  nothing 
of  it."  See  what  a  folly  it  is  for  men  t(.  put  off 
their  repentance  and  conversion  to  a  sick-bed,  and 
a  death-bed!  How  can  even  a  good  man,  much  less 
a  bad  man,  reason  with  God,  so  as  to  be  justified 
before  him,  when  he  is  upon  the  rack  of  pain,  and 
under  the  terror  of  the  arrests  of  death?  At  such  a 
time,  it  is  very  bad  to  have  rfhe  great  work  to  do, 
but  very  comfortable  trf  have  it  done,  as  it  was  to 
Job,  who,  if  he  migl^But  havA  a  little  breathing 
time,  was  ready  eithe^H^  Td  near  God  speaking 
to  him  by  his  won^^^K-eturn  an  answer;  Call 
thou,  and  I  will  ans^^mr,  (2.)  To  speak  to  him 
by  prayer,  and  expect  an  answer;  Let  me  speak, 
and  answer  thou  me,  v.  22.  Compare  this  with 
ch.  ix.  34,  35.  where  he  speaks  to  the  same  purport. 
In  short,  the  badness  of  his  case  was  at  present  such 


a  damp  upon  him,  as  he  could  not  get  over;  othei 
wise  he  was  well  assured  of  the  goodness  c;f  hi^ 
cause,  and  doubted  not  but  to  have  the  comfort  of  it 
at  last,  when  the  present  cloud  was  over.  With 
such  holy  boldness  may  the  upright  come  to  the 
throne  of  grace,  not  doubting  but  to  find  mercy 
there. 

23.  How  many  are  mine  iniquities  and 
sins  !  make  me  to  know  my  transgression 
and  my  sin.  24.  Wherefore  hidest  thou 
thy  face,  and  holdest  me  for  thine  enemy  ? 

25.  Wilt  thou  break  a  leaf  driven  to  and 
fro  ?  and  wilt  thou  pursue  the  dry  stubble  ? 

26.  For  thou  writest  bitter  things  against 
me,  and  makest  me  to  possess  the  iniquities 
of  my  youth.  27.  Thou  puttest  my  feet  also 
in  the  stocks,  and  lookest  narrowly  unto  all 
my  paths ;  thou  settest  a  print  upon  the 
heels  of  my  feet.  28.  And  he,  as  a  rotten 
thing,  consumeth,  as  a  garment  that  is  moth- 
eaten. 

Here, 

I.  Job  inquires  after  his  sins,  and  begs  to  have 
them  discovered  to  him:  he  looks  up  to  God,  and 
asks  him  what  was  the  number  of  them;  How  many 
are  mine  iniquities,  and  what  the  particulars  ( f 
them.'*  Make  me  to  know  my  transgressioyis,  v.  23. 
His  friends  were  ready  enough  to  tell  him  how  nu 
merous  and  how  heinous  they  were,  ch.  xxii.  5. 
"  But,  Lord,"  says  he,  *•  Let  me  know  them  from 
Thee,  for  thy  judgment  is  according  to  truth, 
theirs  is  not."  This  may  be  taken,  either,  1.  As  a 
passionate  complaint  of  hard  usage,  that  he  was 
punished  for  his  faults,  and  yet  was  not  told  what 
his  faults  were.  Or,  2.  As  a  prudent  appeal  to  God 
from  the  censures  of  his  friends;  he  desired  that  all 
his  sins  might  be  brought  to  light,  as  knowing  they 
would  then  appear  not  so  many,  nor  so  mighty,  as 
his  friends  suspected  him  to  be  guilty  of.  Or,  3. 
As  a  pious  request,  to  the  same  purport  with  that 
which  Elihu  directed  him  to;  ch.  xxxiv.  32,  'J'hat 
which  I  see  not,  teach  thou  me.  Note,  A  true  jjeni- 
tent  is  willing  to  know  the  worst  of  himself;  and  we 
should  all  desire  to  know  what  our  transgressions 
are,  that  we  may  be  particular  in  the  confessic  n  (^f 
them,  and  on  our  guard  against  them  for  the  future. 

II.  He  bitterly  complains  of  God's  withdrawings 
from  him;  {y.  24.)  Wherefore  hidest  thcu  thy  face'^ 
This  must  be  meant  of  something  more  than  h'S 
outward  afflictions;  for  the  loss  of  estate,  children, 
health,  might  well  consist  with  God's  lo\  e;  when 
that  was  all,  he  blessed  the  name  of  the  Lord;  but 
his  soul  was  also  sore  vexed,  and  that  is  it  which  he 
here  laments.  1.  That  the  favours  of  the  Almighty 
were  suspended;  God  hid  his  face  as  one  strange  to 
him,  displeased  with  him,  shy  and"  regardless  of 
him.  2.  That  the  terrors  of  the  Almighty  were  in- 
flicted and  impressed  upon  him;  God  held  him  for 
his  Enemy;  shot  his  arrows  at  him,  (ch.  vi.  4.)  and 
set  him  as  a  mark,  ch.  vii.  20.  Note,  The  holy  God 
sometimes  denies  his  favours,  and  discovers  his  ter- 
rors, to  the  best  and  dearest  of  his  saints  and  ser- 
vants in  this  world.  This  case  occurs,  not  only  in 
the  production,  but  sometimes  in  the  progress,  of 
the  divine  life;  evidences  fi^-  heaven  are  eclipsed, 
sensible  communions  interrupted,  dread  of  divine 
wrath  impressed,  and  the  returns  of  comfort,  for 
the  present,  despaired  of,  Ps.  Ixxvii.  7-  -9. — Ixxxviii. 
7,15,16.  These  are  grievous  burthens  to  a  gra- 
cious soul,  that  values  God's  loving-kindness  as 
better  than  life,  Prov.  XA'iii.  14.     ./f  wounded  spvu 


JOB.  XIV. 


71 


w.nc  can  bear?  Job,  by  asking  here,  Why  hidest 
thou  thy  facc'^  teaches  us,  that  when,  at  any  time, 
we  are  uiidei'  tiie  sense  of  (rod's  withdravvings,  we 
are  concerned  to  inquire  into  the  leason  of  them; 
what  is  the  sin  for  which  he  corrects  us;  and  what 
the  good  he  designs  us.  Job's  sufferings  weie  ty- 
pical of  the  sufferings  of  Christ,  from  whom  not 
only  men  hid  their  faces,  (Isa.  liii.  o. )  but  God  hid 
his.  Witness  the  darkness  which  surrounded  him 
on  the  cross,  when  he  cried  out,  My  God,  my  God, 
•why  hast  thou  forsaken  me?  If  this  were  done  to 
tliese  green  trees,  what  shall  be  done  to  the  dry.-" 
They  will  for  ever  be  forsaken. 

III.  He  humbly  pleads  with  God  his  own  utter 
inability  to  stand  before  him:  (xf.  25.)  "'■Wilt  thou 
break  a  leaf,  fiursue  the  dry  stubble?  Lord,  is  it  for 
thine  honour  to  trample  upon  one  that  is  down  al- 
ready? Or  to  crush  one  that  neither  has,  nor  pre- 
tends to,  any  power  to  resist  thee?"  Note,  We 
ought  to  have  such  an  apprehension  of  the  goodness 
and  compassion  of  God,  as  to  believe  that  he  will 
not  break  the  bruised  reed,  Matth.  xii.  20. 

IV.  He  sadly  complains  of  God's  severe  dealings 
with  him:  he  owns  it  was  for  his  sins  that  God  thus 
contended  with  him,  but  thinks  it  hard, 

1.  That  his  former  sins,  long  since  committed, 
should  now  be  remembered  against  him,  and  he 
should  be  reckoned  with  for  the  old  scores;  {tj.  26. ) 
Thou  ivritest  bitter  things  against  me.  Afflictions 
are  bitter  things;  writing  of  them  denotes  delibera- 
tion and  determination,  written  as  a  warrant  for 
execution;  it  denotes  also  the  continuance  of  his 
affliction,  for  that  which  is  written  remains,  and, 
**  Herein  thou  makest  me  to  possess  the  iniquities  of 
my  youth,"  that  is,  "  thou  punishest  me  tor  them, 
and  thereby  puttest  me  in  mind  of  them,  and 
obligest  me  to  renew  my  repentance  for  them." 
Note,  (].)  God  sometimes  writes  very  bitter  things 
against  the  best  and  dearest  of  his  saints  and  ser- 
vants, both  in  outward  afflictions  and  inward  dis- 
quiet; trouble  in  body  and  trouble  in  mind,  that  he 
may  humble  them  and  prove  them,  and  do  them 
good  in  their  latter  end.  (2.)  That  the  sins  of 
youth  are  often  the  smart  of  age,  both  in  respect  of 
sorrow  within,  (Jer.  xxxi.  18,  19.)  and  suffering 
without,  ch.  XX.  11.  Time  does  not  wear  out  the 
^uilt  of  sin.  (3.)  That  when  God  writes  bitter 
things  against  us,  his  design  therein  is,  to  make  us 
possess  our  iniquities,  to  bring  forgotten  sins  to 
mind,  and  so  to  bring  us  to  remorse  for  them,  as  to 
break  us  off  from  them.  This  is  all  the  fruit,  to 
take  away  our  sin. 

2.  That  his  present  mistakes  and  miscarriages 
should  be  so  strictly  taken  notice  of,  and  so  severely 
animadverted  upon;  (t'.  27. )  "Thou  flattest  my 
feet  also  in  the  stocks,  not  only  to  afflict  me,  and 
expose  me  to  shame,  not  only  to  keep  me  from 
escaping  the  strokes  of  thy  wrath,  but  that  thou 
mayest  critically  remark  all  my  motions,  and  look 
narrowly  to  all  my  paths,  to  correct  me  for  every 
false  step,  nay,  for  but  a  look  awry,  or  a  word  mis- 
applied; nay,  thou  settest  a  print  upon  the  heels  of 
my  feet,  sc(>rest  down  every  thing  I  do  amiss,  to 
reckon  for  it;  or,  no  sooner  have  I  ti-odden  wrong, 
though  ever  so  little,  than  immediately  I  smart  for 
it;  the  punishment  treads  upon  the  very  heels  of  the 
sin.  Guilt,  both  of  the  oldest  and  of  the  freshest 
date,  is  put  together,  to  make  up  the  cause  of  my 
calamity."  No^y,  (1.)  It  was  not  true  that  God  did 
thus  seek  advantages  against  him;  he  is  not  thus 
extreme  to  mark  what  we  do  amiss;  if  he  were, 
there  were  no  abiding  for  us,  Ps.  cxxx.  3.  But  he 
is  so  far  from  this,  that  he  deals  not  with  us  accord- 
ing to  the  desert,  no  not  of  our  manifest  sins  which 
are  not  found  by  secret  search,  Jer.  ii.  34.  This 
therefore  was  the  language  of  Job's  melancholy; 
his  sober  thoughts  never  represented  God  thus  as  a 


i  hard  Master.     (2.)  But  we  should  keep  such  a 

I  strict  and  jealous  eye  as  this  upon  oursehesand 

our  cAvn  steps,  both  for  the  discovery  of  sin  j)ast, 

and  the  prevention  of  it  for  the  futui  e.     It  is  good 

for  us  ;dl  to  ponder  the  path  of  our  feet. 

V.  He  finds  himself  wasting  away  apace  under 
the  heav}'  hand  of  God,  v.  28.  He,  that  is,  man,  as 
a  rotten  thing,  the  principle  of  whose  putrefaction  is 
in  itself,  consumes,  even  like  a  moth-eaten  garment, 
^vhich  becomes  continually  worse  and  worse.  Or, 
He,  that  is,  God,  like  rottenness,  and  like  a  moth, 
consumes  me.  Compare  this  with  Hos.  v.  12.  / 
will  be  unto  Ephraim  as  a  moth,  and  to  the  house  of 
Judah  as  rottenness:  and  see  Ps.  xxxix.  11.  Note, 
Man,  at  the  best,  wears  fast;  but,  under  God's  re- 
bukes especially,  he  is  soon  gone.  While  there  is 
so  little  soundness  in  the  soul,  no  marvel  there  is  so 
little  soundness  in  the  flesh,  Ps.  xxxviii.  3. 

CHAP.  XIV. 

Job  had  turned  from  speaking  to  his  friends,  finding:  it  to  no 
purpose  to  reason  with  them,  and  here  goes  on  to  speak 
to  God  and  himself.  He  had  reminded  his  friends  of 
their  frailty  and  mortality;  (ch.  xiii.  12.)  here  he  reminds 
himself  of  his  own,  and  pleads  it  with  God  for  some  mi- 
tigation of  his  miseries.  We  have  here  an  account,  I. 
Of  man's  life,  that  it  is,  I.  Short,  v.  1.  2.  Sorrowful,  v. 
2.  3.  Sinful,  V.  4.  4.  Stinted,  v.  5,  14.  II.  Of  man's 
death,  that  it  puts  a  final  period  to  our  present  life,  to 
which  we  shall  not  a^ain  return, v.  7.  .  12.  That  it 
hides  us  from  the  calamities  of  life;  (v.  13.)  destroys  the 
hopes  of  life;  (v.  18,  19.)  sends  us  away  from  the  busi- 
ness of  life;  (v.  20.)  and  keeps  us  in  the  dark  concern- 
ing our  relations  in  this  life,  how  much  soever  we  have 
formerly  been  in  care  about  them,  v.  21,  22.  III.  The 
use  Job  makes  of  all  this.  1.  He  pleads  it  with  God, 
who,  he  thought,  was  too  strict  and  severe  with  him;  (v. 
16,  17.)  begging  that,  in  consideration  of  his  frailty,  he 
would  not  contend  with  him;  (v.  3.)  but  grant  him 
some  respite,  v.  6.  2.  He  engages  himself  to  prepare 
for  death,  (v.  14.)  and  encourages  himself  to  hope  that 
it  would  be  comfortable  to  him,  v.  15.  This  chapter  is 
proper  for  funeral  solemnities;  and  serious  meditations 
on  it  will  help  us  both  to  get  good  by  the  death  of  others, 
and  to  get  ready  for  our  own. 


1-  T^MT^N  that  is  born  of  a  woman  is  of 
1tJ_  few  clays,  and  full  of  trouble.  2. 
He  Cometh  forth  like  a  flower,  and  is  cut 
down  :  he  fleeth  also  as  a  shadow,  and  con- 
tinueth  not.  3.  And  dost  thou  open  thine 
eyes  upon  such  a  one,  and  bringest  me  into 
judgment  with  thee  ?  4.  Who  can  bring  a 
clean  thing  out  of  an  unclean  ?   not  one. 

5.  Seeing  liis  days  are  determined,  the  num- 
ber of  his  months  are  with  thee  ;  thou  hast 
appointed  his  bounds  that  he  cannot  pass: 

6.  Turn  from  him  that  he  may  rest,  till  he 
shall  accomplish,  as  a  hireling,  his  day. 

We  are  here  led  to  think, 

I.  Of  the  original  of  human  life;  God  is  isdeed 
its  great  Original,  for  he  breathed  into  man  the 
breath  of  life,  and  in  him  we  live;  but  we  date  it 
from  our  biith,  and  thence  we  must  date  both  its 
frailty  and  its  pollution.  1  Its  frailty;  Man,  that  is 
born  of  a  ivomaii^j^tfgmdore  of  few  days,  v.  1.  It 
may  refer  to  ^'^^  J^^^B|h  ^^'^  was  called  Eve, 
because  she  wa^^HBlTOie\)f  all  living-:  of  her, 
who,  being  decel^ByLthe  tdtoter,  was  first  in  the 
transgression,  we  l||H|H||9»d  consequently  de- 
rive from  her  that^BBP|Fruptinn  which 'both, 
shorten  our  days,  and  sadcTen  them.  Or  it  may  re- 
fer to  every  man's  immediate  mother.  The  woman 
is  the  weaker  vessel,  and  we  know  that  Partus  se- 
quitur  ventrem — The  child  takes  after  the  mother. 


72 


JOB,  XIV. 


Lei  not  the  strong  man  therefore  glory  in  his 
strength,  or  in  the  strength  of  his  father,  but  re- 
member that  he  is  born  of  a  woman,  and  that,  when 
God  pleases,  the  mighty  mtn  become  as  women, 
Jer.  li.  30.  2.  Its  pollution;  {v,  4.)  JVho  can  bring 
a  clean  thing  out  of  an  unclean?  If  man  be  born  of 
a  woman  that  is  a  sinner,  how  can  it  be  otherwise 
than  that  he  should  be  a  sinner?  See  ch.  xxv.  4, 
HoTV  can  he  be  clean  that  is  born  of  a  ivoman? 
Clean  children  cannot  come  from  unclean  parents, 
any  more  tlian  pure  streams  from  an  impure  spring, 
or  grapes  from  thorns.  Our  habitual  corruption  is 
derived,  with  our  nature,  from  our  parents,  and  is 
therefore  bred  in  the  bone:  our  blood  is  not  only  at- 
tainted by  a  legal  conviction,  but  tainted  with  an 
hereditary  disease.  Our  Lord  Jesus,  being  made 
sin  for  us,  is  said  to  be  made  of  a  woman.  Gal.  iv.  4. 

IL  Of  the  nature  of  human  life;  it  is  a  flower, 
it  is  a  shadow,  i;.  2.  The  flower  is  fading,  and  all 
its  beauty  soon  withers  and  is  gone.  The  shadow 
is  fleeting,  and  its  very  being  will  soon  be  lost  and 
drowned  in  the  shadows  of  the  night:  of  neither  do 
we  make  any  account,  in  neither  do  we  put  any 
confidence. 

in.  Of  the  shortness  and  uncertainty  of  human 
life;  man  is  of  few  days.  Life  is  computed,  not  by 
months  or  years,  but  by  days,  for  we  cannot  be  sure 
of  any  day  but  that  it  may  be  our  last.  These  days 
are  few,  fewer  than  we  think  of;  few,  at  the  most, 
in  comparison  with  the  days  of  the  first  patriarchs, 
much  more,  in  comparison  with  the  days  of  eter- 
nity; but  much  fewer  to  most,  who  come  short  of 
what  we  call  the  age  of  man.  Man  sometimes  no 
sooner  comes  forth,  than  he  is  cut  down,  comes 
forth  out  of  the  womb,  than  he  dies  in  the  cradle, 
comes  forth  into  the  world  and  enters  into  the  busi- 
ness of  it,  than  he  is  hurried  away  as  soon  as  he  has 
laid  his  hand  to  the  plough.  If  not  cut  down  imme- 
diately, yet  it  flees  as  a  shadow,  and  never  conti- 
nues in  one  stay,  in  one  shape,  but  the  fashion  of  it 
passes  away :  so  does  this  world  and  our  life  in  it, 
1  Cor.  vii.  31. 

IV.  Of  the  calamitous  state  of  human  life;  man, 
as  he  is  short-lived,  so  he  is  sad-li\  ed.  Though  he 
had  but  a  few  days  to  spend  here,  yet  if  he  might 
rejoice  in  those  few,  it  were  well;  (a  short  life  and 
a  merry,  is  the  boast  of  some;)  but  it  is  not  so; 
during  these  few  days,  he  is  full  of  trouble,  not 
only  troubled,  but  full  of  trouble,  either  toiling  or 
fretting,  grieving  or  fearing;  no  day  passes  without 
some  vexation,  some  hurry,  some  disorder  or  other. 
They  that  are  fond  of  the'world,  shall  have  enough 
of  it.  He  is  satur  tremore^ull  of  commotion. 
The  fewness  of  his  days  creates  him  a  continual 
trouble  and  uneasiness  in  expectation  of  the  period 
of  them,  and  he  always  hangs  in  doubt  of  his  life. 
Yet  since  man's  days  are  so  full  of  trouble,  it  is  well 
that  tliey  arc  few,  that  the  soul's  imprisonment  in 
the  body,  and  banishment  from  the  Lord,  are  not 
perpetu  il,  are  not  long.  When  we  come  to  heaven, 
our  davs  will  be  many,  and  perfectly  free  from 
trouV)lc,  and,  in  the  mean  time,  faith,  hope,  and 
lovcHbalance  the  present  grievances. 

V.  Of  the  sinfulness  of  human  life,  arising  from 
the  sinfulness  of  the  human  nature.  So  some  un- 
derstand that  question;  (y.  4.)  Who  can  bring  a 
clean  thing  out  of  an  unclean?  A  clean  performance 
from  an  unclean  princJaMM|^|e,  actual  transgres- 
sions are  the  natural  OTHJ!|SPMtl>itual  corruption; 
which  is  therefore  ('.'aitcn  onginM?^\\,  because  it  is 
the  original  of  alljfur  sins.  'Thrfholv  Job  here  la- 
ments, as  all  that^re  sanctpBWo,  running  up  the 
streams  to  the  fouXaiiMjsEff  li.  5.)  and  some  think 
he  intends  it  as  a  plea  witli  God  for  compassion; 
"Lord,  be  not  extreme  to  mark  my  sins  of  human 
frailty  and  infirmity,  for  thou  knowest  my  weak- 
ness;'0  remember  that  I  amjleah."    The  Chaldee 


paraphrase  has  an  observable  reading  of  this  verse-, 
Who  can  make  a  man  clean,  that  is  polluted  with 
sin?  Cannot  one?  that  is,  God.  Or  who  but  God, 
who  is  one,  and  will  sfiare  him?  God,  by  his  al- 
mighty grace,  can  change  the  skin  of  the  Ethiopian, 
the  skin  of  Job,  though  clothed  with  worms. 

VI.  Of  the  settled  period  of  human  life,  v.  5. 
We  are  here  assured,  1.  That  our  life  will  come  to 
an  end;  our  days  upon  earth  are  not  numberless, 
are  not  endless,  no,  they  are  numbered,  and  will 
soon  be  finished,  Dan.  v.  26.  2.  That  it  is  deter 
mined,  in  the  counsel  and  decree  of  God,  how  long 
we  shall  live,  and  when  we  shall  die.  The  number 
of  our  months  is  with  God,  at  the  disposal  of  his 
power  which  JTannot  be  controlled,  and  under  the 
view  of  his  omniscience  which  cannot  be  deceived. 
It  is  certain  that  God's  providence  has  the  ordering 
of  the  period  of  our  lives,  our  times  are  in  his  hand, 
the  powers  of  nature  depend  upon  him,  and  act  un- 
der him;  in  him  we  live  and  move,  diseases  are  his 
servants,  he  kills  and  makes  alive,  nothing  comes 
to  pass  by  chance,  no  not  the  execution  done  by  a 
bow  drawn  at  a  venture ;  it  is  therefore  certain  that 
God's  prescience  has  determined  it  before,  for 
known  unto  God  are  all  his  works.  Whatever  he 
does,  he  determined,  yet  with  a  regard  partly  to 
the  settled  course  of  nature,  (the  end  and  the  means 
are  determined  together,)  and  to  the  settled  rules 
of  moral  government,  punishing  evil,  and  reward- 
ing good,  in  this  life;  we  are  no  more  governed  by 
the  Stoic's  blind  fate  than  by  the  Epicurean's  blind 
fortune.  3.  That  the  bounds  God  has  fixed,  we 
cannot  pass,  for  his  counsels  are  unalterable,  his 
foresight  being  infallible. 

These  considerations  Job  here  urges  as  reasons, 

(1.)  Why  God  should  not  be  so  strict  in  taking 
cognizance  of  him,  and  of  his  slips,  and  failings; 
{v.  3.)  "Since  I  have  such  a  corrupt  nature  with- 
in, and  am  liable  to  so  much  trouble,  which  is  a 
constant  temptation  from  without,  dost  thou  open 
thine  eyes  and  fasten  them  upon  such  a  one,  ex- 
tremely to  mark  what  I  do  amiss?  ch.  xiii.  27.  And 
dost  thou  bring  me,  such  a  worthless  worm  as  I 
am,  into  judgment  with  thee  who  art  so  quick- 
sighted  to  discover  the  least  failing,  so  holy  to  hate 
it,  so  just  to  condemn  it,  and  so  mighty  to  punish 
it?"  I'he  consideration  of  our  own  inability  to  con- 
tend with  (iod,  of  our  own  sinfulness  and  weakness, 
should  engage  us  to  pray.  Lord,  enter  not  into  judg- 
ment with  thy  servant. 

(2.)  Whv  he  should  not  be  so  severe  in  his  deal- 
ings with  him;  "Lord,  I  have  but  a  little  time  to 
live,  I  must  certainly  and  shortly  go  hence,  and  the 
few  days  I  have  to  spend  here  are,  at  the  best,  full 
of  trouble.  O  let  me  have  a  little  respite,  v.  6. 
Turn  from  afflicting  a  poor  creature  thus,  and  let 
him  rest  a  while;  allow  him  some  breathing  time, 
until  he  .thall  accomplish,  as  a  hireling,  his  day.  It 
is  appointed  to  me  once  to  die,  let  that  one  day  suf- 
fice me,  and  let  me  not  thus  be  continually  dying, 
dying  a  thousand  deaths.  Let  it  suffi.ce  th  it  my  life, 
at  best,  is  as  the  day  of  a  hireling,  a  day  of  toil  and 
labour;  I  am  content  to  accomplish  that,  and  will 
make  the  best  of  the  common  hardships  of  human 
life,  the  burthen  and  heat  of  the  day;  but  let  me 
not  feel  those  uncommon  tortures,  let  not  my  life  be 
as  the  dav  of  a  malefactor,  all  exerution-dav." 
Thus  may  we  find  some  relief  under  gi-eat  troubles 
by  recommending  ourselves  to  the  compassion  of 
that  God  who  knows  our  frame,  will  consider  it, 
and  our  being  out  of  frame  too. 

7.  For  there  is  hope  of  a  tree,  if  it  he  cut 
down,  that  it  will  sprout  a£:ain,  and  that  the 
tender  hranch  thereof  will  not  cease.  8 
Though  the  root  thereof  wax  old  in  the 


JOB,  XIV. 


73 


earth,  and  the  stock  thereof  die  in  the 
ground ;  9.  Yel  through  the  scent  of  water 
It  will  bud,  and  bring  forth  boughs  like  a 
plant.  10.  But  man  dieth,  and  wasteth 
away ;  yea,  man  giveth  up  the  ghost,  and 
where  is  hel  11.  As  the  waters  fail  from 
the  sea,  and  the  flood  decayeth  and  drieth 
up;  12.  So  man  lieth  down,  and  riseth 
not :  till  the  heavens  be  no  more,  they  shall 
not  awake,  nor  be  raised  out  of  their  sleep. 
1.3.  Oh  that  thou  wouldest  h\d§  me  in  the 
grave,  that  thou  wouldest  keep  me  secret 
until  thy  wrath  be  past,  that  thou  wouldest 
appoint  me  a  set  time,  and  remember  me! 
14.  If  a  man  die,  shall  Ue  Wve  again?  All 
the  days  of  my  appointed  time  will  I  wait, 
till  my  change  come.  15.  Thou  shalt  call; 
and  I  will  answer  thee  :  thou  wilt  have  a  de- 
sire to  the  work  of  thy  hands. 

We  have  seen  what  Job  has  to  say  concerning 
life,  let  us  now  see  what  he  h;!S  to  say  concerning 
death,  which  his  thoughts  were  veiy  much  conver- 
sant with,  now  that  he  was  sick  and  sore.  It  is  not 
unseasonable,  when  we  are  in  health,  to  think  of 
d)  'ng;  but  it  is  an  inexcusable  incogitancy,  if,  when 
we  are  already  taken  into  the  custody  of  death's 
messengers,  we  look  upon  it  as  a  thing  at  a  distance. 
Job  had  already  showed  that  death  will  come,  and 
that  its  hour  is  already  fixed.    Now  here  he  shows, 

1.  That  death  is  a  removal  for  ever  out  of  this 
world.  This  he  had  spoken  of  before,  (cA.  vii.  9, 
10.)  and  now  he  mentions  it  again:  for  though  it  be 
a  truth  that  needs  not  be  proved,  yet  it  needs  to  be 
much  considered,  that  it  may  be  duly  jwproved. 

1.  A  man  cut  down  by  death,  will  not  revive 
again,  as  a  tree  cut  down  will.  What  hope  there 
is  of  a  tree,  he  shows  very  elegantly,  v.  7"9.  If 
the  body  of  the  tree  be  cut  down,  and  only  the  stem 
or  stump  left  in  the  ground,  though  it  seem  dead 
and  dry,  yet  it  will  shoot  out  young  boughs  again, 
as  if  it  were  but  newly  planted.  The  moisture  of 
the  earth  and  the  rain  of  heaven  are,  as  it  were, 
scented  and  perceived  by  tlie  stump  of  a  tree,  and 
they  have  an  influence  upon  it  to  revive  it:  but  the 
dead  bodv  of  a  man  would  not  perceive  them,  nor 
be  in  the  least  affected  by  them.  In  Nebuchadnez- 
zar's dream,  when  his  being  deprived  of  the  use  of 
his  reason  was  signified  by  the  cutting  down  of  a 
tree,  his  retnvn  to  it  again  was  signified  by  the 
leaving  of  the  stump  in  the  earth,  with  a  band  of 
iron  and  brass,  to  be  ivct  with  the  dew  of  heaven. 
Dan.  iv.  15.  But  man  has  no  such  prospect  of  a 
return  to  life.  The  vegetable  life  is  a  cheap  and 
easy  thing,  the  scent  of  water  will  recover  it;  the 
animal  life,  in  some  insects  and  fowls,  is  so,  the  heat 
of  the  sun  retrieves  it;  but  the  rational  soul,  when 
once  retired,  is  too  great,  too  noble,  a  thing  to  be 
recalled  by  any  of  the  powers  of  nature;  it  is  out  of 
the  reach  of  sun  or  rain,  and  cannot  be  restored  but 
by  the  immediate  operations  of  Omnipotence  itself; 
for,  (t'.  10.)  Man  dieth  and  wasteth  away;  yea, 
man  giveth  ufi  the  ghont,  and  where  is  he?  Two 
words  are  here  used  for  man.  Geber,  a  mighty 
man,  though  mighty,  dies;  yidam,  a  man  of  the 
earth,  because  earthy,  gives  up  the  ghost.  Note, 
Man  is  a  dying  creature;  he  is  here  described  by 
what  occurs,  (1. )  Before  death;  he  wastes  away,  he 
is  continually  wasting,  dying  daily,  spending  upon 
the  quick  stock  of  life;  sickness  and  old  age  are 
wasting  things  to  the  flesh,  the  strength,  the  beauty. 
(2.)  In  death;  he  gives  up  the  ghost,  the  soul  leaves 

Vol.  Ill — K 


the  body,  and  returns  to  God  who  gave  it,  the  Fa- 
ther of  spirits.  (3.)  jlfter  death;  Where  is  he.' 
He  is  not  where  he  was,  his  place  knows  him  no 
more;  but.  Is  he  nowhere?  So  some  read  it.  Yes, 
he  is  somewhere;  and  it  is  a  very  awful  considera- 
tion to  think  where  they  are  that  have  given  up  the 
ghost,  and  where  we  shall  be,  when  we  give  it  up, 
It  is  gone  to  the  world  of  spirits,  gone  into  eternity, 
gone  to  return  no  more  to  this  world. 

2.  A  man  laid  down  in  the  gra\  e  will  not  rise  up 
again,  v.  11,  12.  Every  night,  we  lie  down  to  sleep, 
and  in  the  morning,  we  awake  and  rise  again;  but, 
at  death,  we  must  lie  down  in  the  grave,  not  to 
awake  or  rise  again  to  such  a  world,  such  a  state, 
as  we  are  now  in,  never  to  awake  or  arise  until  the 
heavens,  the  faithful  measures  of  time,  shall  be  no 
more,  and,  consequently,  time  itself  shall  come  to 
an  end,  and  be  swallowed  up  in  eteinity ;  so  that  the 
life  of  man  may  fitly  be  compared  to  the  waters 
of  a  land-flood,  which  spread  far  and  make  a  great 
show,  but  they  are  shallow,  and,  when  they  are 
cut  off  from  the  sea  or  river,  the  swelling  and  over- 
flowing of  which  was  the  cause  of  them,  they  soon 
decay  and  dry  up,  and  their  place  knows  them  no 
more.  The  waters  of  life  are  soon  exhaled,  and 
disappear;  the  body,  like  some  of  those  waters, 
sinks  and  soaks  into  the  earth,  and  is  buried  there; 
the  soul,  like  others  of  them,  is  drawn  upward,  to 
mingle  with  the  waters  above  the  firmament.  The 
learned  Sir  Richard  Blackmore  makes  this  also  to 
be  a  dissimilitude;  if  the  waters  decay  and  be  dried 
up  in  the  summer,  yet  they  will  return  again  in  the 
winter;  but  it  is  not  so  with  the  life  of  man.  Take 
part  of  his  paraphrase  in  his  own  words: 

A  flowing  river,  or  a  standing  lake, 
May  their  dry  banks  and  naked  sliores  forsake  ; 
Their  waters  may  exhale  and  upward  move, 
Their  channel  leave  to  roll  in  clouds  ;ibove  ; 
But  the  reluming  winter  will  restore 
What  in  the  summer  Ihey  had  lost  bel'ore: 
But  if,  O  man,  thy  vital  stieanis  desert 
Their  purple  channels,  and  defraud  the  heart, 
With  frcBli  recruits  they  ne'er  will  be  supply'd, 
Nor  feel  their  leaping  life's  returning  tide. 

11.  That  yet  ther^  will  be  a  return  of  man  to  life 
again  in  another  world,  at  the  end  of  time,  when 
the  heavens  are  no  more.  Then  they  shall  awake, 
and  be  raised  out  of  their  sleep.  The  resurrection 
of  the  dead  was,  doubtless,  an  article  of  Job's  creed, 
as  appears,  ch.  xix.  26.  and  to  that,  it  should  seem, 
he  has  an  eye  here;  where,  in  the  belief  of  that,  we 
have  three  things: 

1.  An  humble  petition  for  a  hiding-place  in  the 
grave,  i'.  13.  It  was  not  only  in  a  passionate  wea- 
riness of  this  life,  that  he  wished  to  die,  but  in  a 
pious  assurance  of  a  better  life,  to  which,  ''t  length, 
he  should  arise.  O  that  thou  wouldest  hide  me  in 
the  grave!  The  grave  is  not  only  a  resting-place, 
but  a  hiding-place,  to  the  people  of  God.  God  has 
the  key  of  the  grave,  to  let  in  now,  and  to  let  out  at 
the  resurrection.  He  hides  men  in  the  grave,  as  we 
hide  our  treasure  in  a  place  of  secrecy  and  safety; 
and  he  who  hides  will  find,  and  nothing  shall  be 
lost.  "O  that  thou  wouldest  hide  me,  not  only 
from  the  storms  and  troubles  of  this  life,  but  foPthe 
bliss  and  glory  of  a  better  life;  let  me  lie  in  the 
grave,  reserved  for  ipimortalitv,  in  secret  from  all  the 
world,  but  not  from  thee,  not  from  those  eves  which 


saw  my   substance 
in    the   lowest  fiar^ 
\5,  16.     There  1 
fiast.    As  long  as' 
grave,  so  long  the 
which  they  were  b 
are  under  some  of  the 

body  is  raised,  it  is  wholly  past;  death,  the  last  ene- 
my, will  then  be  totally  destroyed.  (2.)  Until  the 
set  time  comes  for  my  being  remembered,  as  Noah 
was  remembered  in  the  ark,  (Gen.  viii.  1. )  where 


rst  curi'^usly   wrought 

•arth,"    Ps.    cxxxix. 

Utitil  thy  wrath  be 

he  saints  lie  in  the 

tins  of  that  wrath 

n  of,  so  long  they 

sin;  but  when  the 


74  JOB,  XIV. 

God  not  only  hid  him  from  the  destruction  of  the 
old  world,  but  reserved  him  for  the  reparation  ot 
a  new  world.  The  bodies  of  the  saints  shall  not  be 
forgotten  in  the  gra\  e;  there  is  a  time  appointed,  a 
time  set,  for  their  being  inquired  after.  We  can- 
not be  sure  that  we  shall  look  through  the  darkness 
of  our  present  troubles,  and  see  good  days  after 
them  in  this  world;  but  if  we  can  but  get  well  to 
the  grave,  we  may  with  an  eye  of  faith  look  through 
the  darkness  of  that,  as  Job  here,  and  see  better 
days  on  the  other  side  it,  in  a  better  world. 

2.  A  holv  resolution  patiently  to  attend  the  will 
of  God  both  in  his  death  and  in  his  resurrection; 
{v.  14.)     If  a  man  die,  shall  he  live  agaitJ  all  (he 
days  of  my  afifiointed  time  will  I  wait  until  my 
change  come.  Job's  friends  proving  miserable  com- 
forters, he  set  himself  to  be  the  more  his  own  com- 
forter; his  case  was  now  bad,  but  he  pleases  himself 
with  the  expectation  of  a  change.     I  think  it  can- 
not be  meant  of  his  return  to  a  prosperous  condition 
in  this  world.   His  friends  indeed  flattered  him  with 
the  hopes  of  that,  but  he  himself  all  along  despaired 
of  it.   Comforts  founded  upon  uncertainties,  at  best, 
m\ist  needs  be  uncertain  comforts;  and  therefore,  no 
doubt,  it  is  something  more  sure  than  that  which  he 
here  bears  up  himself  with  the  expectation  of.  The 
change  he  waits  for  must,  therefore,  be  understood, 
either,    (1.)  Of  the  change  of  the  resurrection, 
when  the  vile  body  shall   be  changed,   (Phil.  iii. 
21.)  and  a  great  and  glorious  change  it  will  be;  and 
tlien  that  question.  If  a  man  die,  shall  he  live  again? 
must  be  taken  by  way  of  admiration.     "Strange! 
Shall  these  dry  bones  hve!     If  so,  all  the  time  ap- 
pointed for  the  continuance  of  the  separation  be- 
tween soul  and  body,  my  separate  soul  shall  wait 
until  that  change  comes,  when  it  shall  be  united 
again  to  the  body,  and  my  flesh  also  shall  rest  in 
hofie,"  Ps.  xvi.  9.  Or,  (2.)  Of  the  chance  at  death. 
"  If  a  man  die,  shall  he  live  again?    No,  not  such 
a  life  as  he  now  lives;  and  therefore  I  will  patiently 
wait  until  that  change  comes,  which  will  put  a  pe- 
riod to  my  calamities,  and  not  impatiently  wish  for 
the  anticipation  of  it,  as  I  have  done."     Observe 
here,    [1.]   That  it  is  a  serioMs  thing  to  die,  it  is  a 
work  by  itself.     It  is  a  cliange;  there  is  a  visible 
change'in  the  body,  its  appearance  altered,  its  ac- 
tions brought  to  an  end,  but  a  greater  change  with 
the  soul,  which  quits  the  body,  and  removes  to  the 
world  of  spirits,  finishes  its  state  of  probation,  and 
enters  upon  that  of  retribution.     This  change  will 
come,  and  it  will  be  a  final  change,  not  like  the 
transmutations  of  the  elements,  which  return  to 
their  former  state.     No,  we  must  die,  not  thus  to 
live  again.     It  is  but  once  to  die,  and  that  had  need 
be  well  done  that  is  to  be  done  but  once.     An  error 
here  is  fatal,  conclusive,  and  not  again  to  be  recti- 
fied.    [2.]  That  therefore  it  is  the  duty  of  every 
one  of  us  to  wait  for  that  change,  and  to  continue 
waiting  all  the  days  of  our  appointed  time.     The 
time  of  life  is  an  appointed  time;  that  time  is  to  be 
reckoned  by  days,  and  those  days  are  to  be  spent 
in  waiting  for  our  change.  That  is.  First,  We  must 
expect  that  it  will  come,  and  think  much  of  it.     Se- 
condly, We  must   desire  that  it  would  come,  as 
those  "that  long  to  be  with  Christ.      Thirdly,  We 
must  be  willing  to  tarry  until  it  does  come,  as  those 
that  believe  God's  time  to  be  the  best.     Fourthly, 
We  must  give  dilig^|Mh^et  ready  against  it 
comes,  that  it  m ay jAniyPsB^h an ge  to  us. 

3.  A  joyful  expa^Bon  of  blijp  and  satisfaction  in 
this;  (x>.  15.)  Tli^HgJ0|B[^//,  and  I  wi/l  an- 
swer thee.  NoN^^^^^^^PPR*  such  a  cloud,  that 
he  could  not,  he  a|HPi^»^swer;  {ch.  ix.  15,  35. 

xiii.  22.)  l)ut  he  comforted  himself  with  this,  that 

there  would  come  a  time  when  God  would  call,  and 
he  should  answer;  then,  that  is,  (1.)  At  the  resur- 
rection; "Thou  shalt  call  me  out  of  the  grave,  by 


the  voice  of  the  archangel,  and  I  will  answer,  and 
come  at  the  call."  The  body  is  the  work  of  God'n 
hands,  and  he  will  have  a  desire  to  that,  having 
prepared  a  glory  for  it.  Or,  (2. )  At  death;  "  Thou 
shalt  call  my  body  to  the  grave,  and  my  soul  to 
thyself,  and  I  will  answer.  Ready,  Lord,  ready, 
coming,  coming;  here  I  am."  Gracious  souls  can 
cheerfully  answer  death's  summons,  and  appear  to 
his  writ.  Their  spirits  arc  not  forcibly  required 
from  them,  (as  Luke  xii.  20. )  but  willingly  resigned 
by  them,  and  the  earthly  tabernacle  not  violently 
pulled  down,  but  voluntarily  laid  down;  with  this 
assurance,  "Thou  wilt  have  a  desire  to  the  work 
of  thy  hands;  thou  hast  mercy  in  store  for  me,  not 
only  as  mad#  by  thy  providence,  but  new-made  by 
thy  grace;  otherwise  he  that  made  them  will  not 
save  the?n.  Note,  Grace  in  the  soul  is  the  work  of 
God's  own  hands,  and  theiefoie  he  will  not  forsake 
it  in  this  world,  (Ps.  cxxxviii.  8. )  but  will  have  a 
desire  to  it,  to  perfect  it  in  the  other,  and  to  crown 
it  with  endless  glory. 

16.  For  now  thou  numberest  my  steps, 
dost  thou  not  watch  over  my  sin?  17.  My 
transgression  is  sealed  up  in  a  bag,  and  thou 
sewest  up  mine  iniquity.  18.  And  surely 
the  mountain  falling  cometh  to  nought,  and 
the  rock  is  removed  out  of 'his  place.  19. 
The  waters  wear  the  stones :  thou  washest  - 
away  the  things  which  grow  out  of  the  dust 
of  the  earth;  and  thou  destroyest  the  hope 
of  man.  20.  Thou  prevailest  for  ever  against 
him ;  and  he  passeth :  thou  changest  his 
countenance,  and  sendest  him  away.  21. 
His  sons  come  to  honour,  and  he  knoweth 
it  not;  and  they  are  brought  low,  but  he 
perceiveth  it  not  of  them.  22.  But  his  flesh 
upon  him  shall  have  pain,  and  his  soul  within 
him  shall  mourn. 

Job  here  returns  to  his  complaints;  and  though  he 
is  not  without  hope  of  future  bliss,  he  finds  it  very 
hard  to  get  over  his  present  grievances. 

I.  He  complains  of  the  particular  hardships  he 
apprehendfed  himself  under  from  the  strictness  of 
God's  justice,  v.  16,  17.  Therefore  he  longed  to 
go  hence  to  that  world  where  God's  wrath  will  be 
past,  because  now  he  was  under  the  continual 
tokens  of  it,  as  a  child,  under  the  severe  discipline 
of  the  rod,  longs  to  be  of  age.  "When  shall  my 
change  come?  For  now  thou  seemest  to  me  to 
number  my  steps,  and  watch  over  my  sin,  and  seal 
it  up  in  a  bag,  as  bills  of  indictment  are  kept  safe, 
to  be  produced  against  the  prisoner."  See  Deut. 
xxxii.  34.  "Thou  takest  all  advantages  against 
me,  old  scores  are  called  over,  every  infirmity  is 
animadverted  upon,  and  no  sooner  is  a  false  step 
taken,  than  I  am  beaten  for  it. "  Now,  1,  Job  does 
right  to  the  divine  justice,  in  owning  that  he  smart- 
ed for  his  sins  and  transgressions,  that  he  had  done 
enough  to  deserve  all  that  was  laid  upon  him ;  for 
there  was  sin  in  all  his  steps,  and  he  was  guilty  of 
transgression  enough  to  bring  all  this  ruin  upon  him, 
if  it  were  strictly  inquired  into:  he  is  far  from  sav- 
ing that  he  perishes  being  innocent.  But,  2.  He 
does  wrong  to  the  divine  goodness,  in  suggesting  that 
God  was  extreme  tc  mark  what  he  did  amiss,  and 
made  the  worst  of  eveiT  thing:  he  spake  to  this 
pui-port,  ch.  xiii.  27.  It  was  unadvisedly  said,  and 
therefore  we  will  not  dwell  too  much  upon  it.  God 
does  indeed  see  all  our  sins,  he  sees  sin  in  his  own 
people,  but  he  is  not  severe  in  reckoning  with  us, 
nor  is  the  law  ever  stretched  against  us,  but  we  are 


JOB,  XV 


punished  less  than  our  iniquities  deserve.  God 
does  indeed  seal  and  sow  up,  against  the  day  of 
wrath,  the  transgression  of  the  impenitent,  but  the 
'sins  of  his  people  he  blots  out  as  a  cloud. 

II.  He  complains  of  the  wasting  condition  of  man- 
kind in  general:  we  live  in  a  dying  world;  who 
knows  the  fiower  of  God's  anger,  by  ivhich  we  are 
consumed  and  troubled,  and  in  which  all  our  days 
are  passed  away?  See  Ps.  xc.  7- -9,  11.  And  who 
can  bear  up  against  his  rebukes?     Ps.  xxxix.  11. 

1.  We  see  the  decays  of  the  earth  itself.  (1. )  Of 
the  strongest  parts  of  it,  v.  18.  Nothing  will  last 
always,  for  we  see  even  mountains  moulder  and 
come  to  nought,  they  wither  and  fall  as  a  leaf,  rocks 
wax  old  and  pass  away  by  the  contintal  beating  of 
the  sea  against  them.  The  waters  wear  the  stones 
with  constant  dropping,  7ion  vi,  sed  scs/ie  cadendo — 
not  by  the  violence,  but  by  the  consta?icy,  with  which 
they  fall.  On  this  earth  every  thing  is  the  worse 
for  the  wearing;  Temfias  edax  rerum — Time  de- 
vours all  things.  It  is  not  so  with  the  heavenly 
bodies.  (2.)  Of  the  natural  products  of  it:  the 
things  which  grow  out  of  the  earth,  and  seem  to  be 
firmly  rooted  in  it,  are  sometimes,  by  an  excess  of 
rain,  washed  away,  v.  19.  Some  think  he  pleads 
this  for  relief:  "Lord,  my  patience  will  not  hold 
out  always,  even  rocks  and  mountains  will  fail  at 
last;  therefore  cease  the  controversy." 

2.  No  marvel,  then,  if  we  see  the  decays  of  man 
upon  the  earth,  for  he  is  of  the  earth,  earthy.  Job 
begins  to  think  his  case  is  not  singular,  and  there- 
fore he  ought  to  reconcile  himself  to  the  common  lot. 
We  perceive  by  many  instances, 
(1.)  How  vain  it  is  to  expect  much  from  the  en- 
joyments of  life;  "  Thou  destroyest  the  hope  of 
man,"  that  is,  "  puttest  an  end  to  all  the  projects 
he  had  framed,  and  all  the  prospects  of  satisfaction 
he  had  flattered  himself  with."  Death  will  be  the 
destruction  of  all  those  hopes  which  are  built  upon 
worldly  confidences,  and  confined  to  worldly  com- 
forts. Hope  in  Christ,  and  hope  \\\  heaven,  death 
will  consummate,  and  not  destroy. 

(2. )  How  vain  it  is  to  struggle  against  the  assaults 
of  death;  (x;.  20. )  Thou  prevailest  for  ever  against 
him.  Note,  [1.]  Man  is  an  unequal  match  for 
God;  whom  God  contends  with,  he  will  certainly 
prevail  against,  prevail  for  ever  against,  so  that 
they  shall  never  be  able  to  make  head  again.  [2.  ] 
The  stroke  of  death  is  irresistible;  it  is  to  no  pur- 
pose to  dispute  its  summons;  God  prevails  against 
man,  and  he  passes  away,  and,  lo,  he  is  not.  Look 
upon  a  dying  man,  and  see, 

First,  How  his  looks  are  altered.  Thou  changest 
his  countenance,  two  ways.  1.  By  the  disease  of 
his  body.  When  a  man  has  been  a  few  days  sick, 
what  a  change  is  there  in  his  countenance !  How 
much  more  when  he  has  been  a  few  minutes  dead! 
The  countenance  which  was  majestic  and  awful, 
becomes  mean  and  despicable;  that  which  was 
lovely  and  amiable,  becomes  ghastly  and  frightful: 
Bury  my  dead  out  of  my  sight.  Where  then  is 
the  admired  beauty?  Death  changes  the  counte- 
nance, and  then  sends  us  away  out  of  this  world, 
gives  us  one  dismission  hence,  never  to  return.  2. 
By  the  discomposure  of  his  mind.  Note,  The  ap- 
proach of  death  will  make  the  strongest  and  stoutest 
to  change  countenance;  it  will  make  the  most  merry 
smiling  countenance  to  look  grave  and  serious,  and 
the  most  bold  daring  countenance  to  look  pale  and 
timorous. 

Secondly,  How  little  he  is  concerned  in  the  affairs 
of  his  family,  which  once  lay  so  near  his  heart. 
W'hen  he  is  in  the  hands  of  the  harbingers  of  death, 
suppose  struck  with  a  palsy  or  apoplexy,  or  deliiious 
'\n  a  fever,  or  in  conflict  with  death,  tell  him  then 


76 

he  perceives  it  not,  v.  21.  He  is  going  to  that 
world  where  he  will  be  a  perfect  stranger  to  all 
those  thmgs  which  here  filled  and  affected  him. 
1  he  consideration  of  this  should  moderate  our  cares 
concerning  our  children  and  families.  God  will 
know  what  comes  of  them  when  we  are  gone,  to 
him  therefore  let  us  commit  them,  with  him  let  us 
leave  them,  and  not  burthen  ourselves  with  need- 
less, fruitless,  cares  concerning  them. 

Thirdly,  How  dreadful  the  agonies  of  death  are; 
(x-.  22.)  While  his  flesh  is  upon  him,  (so  it  may  be 
read,)  that  is,  the  body  he  is  so  loath  to  lay  down. 
It  shall  have  pain;  and  while  his  soul  is  within  him, 
that  is,  the  spirit  he  is  so  loath  to  resign,  it  shall 
mourn.  Note,  Dying  work  is  hard  work;  dyine 
pangs  are,  commonly,  sore  pangs.  It  is  folly,  there- 
tore,  for  men  to  defer  their  repentance  to  a  death- 
bed, and  to  have  that  to  dc,  which  is  the  one  thin? 
needful,  when  they  are  really  unfit  to  do  any  thingi 
but  it  IS  true  wisdom,  by  making  our  peace  with 
God  in  Christ,  and  keeping  a  good  conscience,  to 
treasure  up  comforts  which  will  support  and  relieve 
us  against  the  pains  and  sorrows  of  a  dying  hour. 


...     V.     »^   .    ._.   ,      ^,.         ...       ^v^.....vvv       ..  .u.i       .^.^(.fcVll,      VV^»»       XXltll        tllCIl 

the  most  agreeable,  news,  or  the  most  painful,  con- 
cerning his  children,  it  is  all  alike,  he  knows  it  not,  I 


CHAP.  XV. 

Perhaps  Job  was  so  clear,  and  so  well  satisfied,  in  the  <rood- 
ness  of  his  own  cause,  that  he  thought  if  he  had  norcon- 
vinced,  yet  he  had,  at  least,  silenced^  all  his  three  friends  • 
but,  it  seems,  he  had  not ;  in  this  chapter,  they  be-rin  a 
second  attack  upon  him,  each  of  them  chargino-^'him 
alresh,  with  as  much  vehemence  as  before.  It  is  n'atural 
to  us  to  be  fond  of  our  own  sentiments,  and  therefore  to 
be  firm  to  them,  and  with  difficulty  to  be  brouo-ht  to  re- 
cede from  them.  Eliphaz  here  keeps  close  to  the  princi- 
pies  upon  which  he  had  condemned  Job,  and  I  He  re- 
proves him  for  justifying  himself,  and  fathers  on  him 
many  evil  things  which  are  unfairly  inferred  from  thence 
V.  2.  .13.  II.  He  persuades  him  to  humble  himsell  be' 
lore  Uod,  and  to  take  shame  to  himself,  v.  14  . .  16.  Ill 
He  reads  him  a  long  lecture  concerning  the  woeful  es^ 
tate  ol  wicked  people,  who  harden  their  hearts  ao-ainst 
C>od  and  the  judoments  which  are  prepared  for  them  v 
17  .  ,35.  A  good  use  may  be  made  both  of  his  reproofs, 
u  u  ^  ^'"^  plain,)  and  of  his  doctrine,  (for  ii  is  sound,) 
though  both  the  one  and  the  other  are  misapplied  to  Job. 

1.  ^HEN  answered  Eliphaz  the  Tema- 

X    nite,  and   said,     2.  Sliould  a  wise  ♦ 
man  utter  vain  knowledge,  and  fill  his  belly 
with  the  east  wind  ?     3.  Should  he  reason 
with   unprofitable  talk  ?  or  with   speeches 
wherewith  he  can  do  no  good  ?     4.  Yea, 
thou  easiest  off  fear,  and  restrainest  prayer 
before   God.     5.  For   thy  mouth   uttereth 
thine  iniquity,  and  thou  choosest  the  tongue 
of  the  crafty.     6.  Thine  own  mouth  con 
demneth  thee,  and  not  I;  yea,  thine  owu 
hps  testify  against  thee.     7.  Art  thou  the 
first  man  ihat  was  born  ?  or  wast  thou  made 
before  the  hills  ?     8.  Hast  thou  heard  the 
secret  of  God  ?  and  dost  thou  restrain  wis- 
dom to  thyself?     9.  What  knowest  thou, 
that  we   know   not  ?    what  understandest 
thou,  which  is  not  in  us  ?     10.  With  us  are 
both  the  gray-headed  and  very  aged  men, 
much  elder  than  tby  father.     11.  Are  the 
consolations  of  GM  small  with   thee  ?  is 
there  any  secret  th!j%  with  jfiee  ?    1 2.  Why 
doth  thy  heart  cany  thee,  away  ?  and  what 
do  thine   eyes-  wink   at,      13.  That    thou 
turnest  thy  spirit  against  God,  and  lettest 
such  words  go  out  of  thy  mouth  ?    1 4.  What 


76 


JOB,  XV. 


IS  man,  that  he  should  be  clean  ?  and  he 
ivliicli  is  born  of  a  woman,  that  he  should 
be  righteous?  15.  Behold,  he  putteth  no 
trust  in  his  saints ;  yea,  the  heavens  are  not 
clean  in  his  sight:  16.  How  much  more 
abominable  and  filthy  is  man,  which  drink- 
eth  iniquity  like  water  ? 

Eliphaz  here  falls  very  foul  upon  Job,  because  he 
contradicted  what  he  and  his  colleagues  had  said, 
and  did  not  acquiesce  in  it,  and  applaud  it,  as  they 
expected.  Proud  people  are  apt  thus  to  take  it 
very  much  amiss,  if  they  may  not  have  leave  to 
dictate  and  give  law  to  all  about  them,  and  to  cen- 
sure those  as  ignorant  and  obstinate,  and  all  that  is 
naught,  who  cannot,  in  every  thing,  say  as  they  say. 

Several  great  crimes  Eliphaz  here  charges  Job 
with,  only  because  he  would  not  own  himself  a 
hvpocrite. 

I.  He  charges  him  with  folly  and  absurdity;  (v. 
2,  3.)  That  whereas  he  had  been  reputed  a  wise 
man,  he  had  now  quite  forfeited  his  reputation;  any 
one  would  say  that  his  wisdom  was  departed  from 
him,  he  talked  so  extravagantly,  and  so  little  to  the 
purpose.  Bildad  began  thus,  {ch.  viii.  2. )  and  Zo- 
phai-.  ch.  xi.  2,  3.  It  is  common  for  angry  dis- 
putants thus  to  represent  one  another's  reasonings 
as  impertinent  and  ridiculous,  more  than  there  is 
cause,  forgetting  the  doom  of  him  that  calls  his 
brother  liaca,  and  Thou  Fool.  It  is  true,  1.  That 
there  is  in  the  world  a  great  deal  of  vain  knowledge, 
science  falsely  so  called,  that  is  useless,  and  there- 
fore worthless.  2.  That  this  is  the  knowledge  that 
puffs  up,  with  which  men  swell  in  a  fond  conceit  of 
their  own  accomplishments.  3.  That  whatever 
vain  knowledge  a  man  may  have  in  his  head,  if  he 
would  be  thought  a  wise  man,  he  must  not  utter  it, 
but  let  it  die  with  himself,  as  it  deserves.  4.  Un- 
profitable talk  is  evil  talk:  we  must  give  an  account, 
m  the  great  day,  not  only  for  -wicked  words,  but  for 
idle  words.  Speeches,  therefore,  which  do  no  good, 
which  do  no  service  either  to  God  or  our  neighbour, 
or  no  justice  to  ourselves,  which  are  no  way  to  the 
use  of  edifying,  were  better  unspoken.  Those 
words  which  are  as  wind,  light  and  empty,  espe- 
cially which  are  as  the  east  wind,  hurtful  and  per- 
nicious, it  will  be  wrong  to  fill  either  oursehes  or 
others  with,  for  they  will  pass  very  ill  in  the  ac- 
count. 5.  Vain  knowledge  and  unprofitable  talk 
ought  to  be  reproved  and  checked,  especially  in  a 
wise  man,  whom  it  worst  becomes,  and  who  does 
most  hurt  by  the  bad  example  of  it. 

II.  He  charges  him  with  impiety  and  irreligion; 
(v.  4.)  "  77ioii  easiest  off  fear,"  that  is,  "the  fear 
of  God,  and  that  regard  to  him  which  thou  shouldest 
have;  and  then  thou  restrainest  prayer."  See  what 
religion  is  summed  up  in — fearing  God,  and  praying 
to  him;  the  former  the  most  needful  principle,  the 
latter  the  most  needful  practice.  Where  no  fear 
of  God  is,  no  good  is  to  be  expected;  and  those  who 
live  without  prayer,  certainly  li\e  without  (iod  in 
the  world.  Those  who  restrain  prayer,  prove  that 
they  cast  off  fear.  Surely  those  ha\  e  no  reverence 
of  Clod's  majesty,  no  dread  of  his  wrath,  and  are  in 
no  care  about  their  souls  and  eternity,  who  make 
no  applications  to  God  for  his  grace.  Those  who 
are  prayerless,  are  fearleaf  4p^  graceless.  When 
the  fear  of  God  is  cast  o^^ll  sin  is  let  in,  and  a 
door  open  to  all  rnanner  of  wijofaneness.  It  is  espe- 
cially bad  with  tlilie  who'^ave  had  some  fear  of 
God,  but  have  now  cast  it  off,  have  been  frequent 
in  prayer,  but  now  restrain  it.  How  are  they  fallen! 
How  is  their  first  love  lost!  It  denotes  a  kind  of 
force  put  upon  thcmseh  es.  The  fear  of  God  would 
cleave  to  them,  but  they  throw  it  off;  prayer  would 


be  uttered,  but  thev  restrain  it,  and,  in  brth,  baffle 
their  convictions.  Those  who  either  omit  prayer, 
or  straiten  and  abridge  themselves  in  it,  quenching 
the  spirit  of  adoption,  and  denynig  themselves  the' 
liberty  they  might  take  in  the  duty,  restrain  prayer: 
this  is  bad  enough,  but  it  is  worse  to  restrain  ethers 
from  prayer,  to  prohibit  and  discourage  prayer,  as 
Darius,  Dan.  vi.  7. 

Now  Eliphaz  charges  this  upon  Job,  either,  1. 
As  that  which  was  his  own  practice.  He  thought 
that  Job  talked  of  God  with  such  liberty  as  if  he 
had  been  his  equal,  and  that  he  charged  him  sc 
vehemently  with  hai'd  usage  of  him,  and  chullenged 
him  so  often  to  a  fair  trial,  that  he  had  quite  thrown 
off  all  religious  regard  to  him.  This  charge  was 
utterly  false,  and  yet  wanted  not  some  colour.  We 
ought  not  only  to  take  care  that  we  keep  up  prayer 
and  the  fear  of  God,  but  that  we  never  drop  any 
unwary  expressions,  which  may  give  occasion  to 
those  who  seek  occasion  to  question  our  sincerity 
and  constancy  in  religion.  Or,  2.  As  that  which 
others  would  infer  from  the  doctrine  he  maintain- 
ed. "  If  this  be  true,"  (thinks  Eliphaz,)  "which 
Job  says,  that  a  man  may  be  thus  sorely  afflicted, 
and  yet  be  a  good  man,  then  farewell  all  religion, 
farewell  prayer  and  the  fear  of  God.  If  all  things 
come  alike  to  all,  and  the  best  men  may  have  the 
worst  treatment  in  this  world,  every  one  will  be 
ready  to  say.  It  is  vain  to  serve  God;  and  ivhat  pro- 
Jit  is  it  to  keep,  his  ordinances?  (Mai.  iii.  14.)  Verily 
I  have  cleansed  my  hands  in  vain,  (Ps.  Ixxiii.  13, 
14.)  Who  will  be  honest,  if  the  tabernacles  of 
robbers  prosper?  (ch.  xii.  6.)  If  there  be  no  for- 
giveness with  God,  {ch.  vii.  21.)  who  will  fear  him? 
(Ps.  cxxx.  4.)  If  he  laugh  at  the  trial  of  the  inno- 
cent, {ch.  ix.  23.)  if  he  be  so  difficult  of  access,  {ch. 
ix.  32.)  who  will  pray  to  him?"  Note,  It  is  a  piece 
of  injustice,  which  even  wise  and  good  men  are  too 
often  guilty  of,  in  the  heat  of  disputation,  to  charge 
upon  their  adversaries  those  consequences  of  their 
opinions,  which  are  not  fairly  drawn  from  them, 
and  which  really  they  abhor.  This  is  not  doing  as 
we  would  be  done  by. 

Upon  this  strained  inuendo  Eliphaz  grounds  that 
high  charge  of  impiety;  {v.  5.)  Thy  mouth  utters 
thine  iniquity,  teaches  it,  so  the  word  is.  "Thou 
teachest  others  to  have  the  same  hard  thoughts  of 
God  and  religion  that  thou  thyself  hast."  It  is  bad 
to  break  even  the  least  of  the  commandments,  but 
worse  to  teach  men  so,  Matth.  v.  19.  If  we  ever 
thought  evil,  let  us  lay  our  hand  upon  our  mouth 
to  suppress  the  evil  thought,  (Prov.  xxx.  32.)  and 
let  us  by  no  means  utter  it,  that  is  putting  an  impri- 
matur to  it,  publishing  it  with  allowance,  to  the  dis- 
honour of  God,  and  the  damage  of  others.  Obser\  e. 
When  men  have  cast  off  fear  and  prayer,  theii 
mouths  utter  iniquity.  They  that  cease  to  do  good, 
socn  learn  to  do  evil.  What  can  we  expect  but  all 
manner  of  iniquity  from  those  that  arm  nnt  them- 
selves witli  the  grace  of  God  against  it?  But,  thou 
choosest  the  tongue  of  the  frq/?t/,  that  is,  "Thru 
utterest  thine  iniquity  with  some  show  and  pretence 
of  piety,  mixing  some  good  words  with  the  bad,  as 
tradesmen  do  with  their  wares  to  help  them  off." 
The  mouth  of  iniquity  could  not  do  so  much  mis 
chief  as  it  does,  without  the  tongue  of  the  craft\ 
The  sei-pent  beguiled  E\e  through  his  subtilt  ,• 
Rom.  xvi.  18.  The  tongue  of  the  crafty  speaks 
with  design  and  deliberation;  and  therefore  the> 
that  use  it  may  be  said  to  choose  it,  as  that  which 
will  serve  their  purpose  better  than  the  tongue  of 
the  upright:  but  it  will  be  found,  at  last,  that  ho 
nesty  is  the  best  policy. 

Eliphaz,  in  his  first  discourse,  had  proceeded 
against  Job  upon  mere  surmise;  (ch,  iv,  6,  7.)  but 
now  he  has  got  proof  against  him  from  his  own  dis- 
courses; {v.  6.)   Thine  own  mouth  condemns  theCt 


JOB,  XV. 


77 


n7id  not  I.  But  he  should  have  considered  that  he 
and  his  fellows  had  provoked  him  to  say  that 
which  now  they  took  advantage  of;  and  that  was 
not  fair.  Those  are  most  eifectually  condemned, 
tiiat  are  condemned  by  themselves,  Tit.  iii.  11. 
Luke  xix.  22.  Many  a  man  needs  no  more  to  sink 
him,  than  for  his  own  tongue  to  fall  upon  him. 

in.  He  charges  him  with  intolerable  arrogancy 
;ind  self-conceitedness.  It  was  a  just,  and  reasona- 
ble, and  modest,  demand  that  Job  had  made;  {ch. 
xii.  3.)  AUonv  that  1  have  understaTiding  as  well  as 
you:  but  see  how  they  seek  occasion  against  him; 
that  is  misconstrued,  as  if  he  pretended  to  be  wiser 
than  any  man.  Because  he  will  not  grant  to  them, 
tliey  will  have  it  thought  that  he  claims  to  himself, 
the  monopoly  of  wisdom,  x'.  7*  '9.  As  if  he  thought 
he  had  tlie  advantage  of  all  mankind,  1.  In  length 
of  acquaintance  with  the  world,  which  furnishes 
men  with  so  much  the  more  experience;  "jirt  thou 
the  first  man  that  was  born,  and,  consequently, 
senior  to  us,  and  better  able  to  give  the  sense  of  an- 
tiquity, and  the  judgment  of  the  tirst  and  earliest, 
tiie  wisest  and  purest,  ages?  Art  thou  prior  to 
Adam?"  (So  it  may  be  read. )  "  Did  not  he  suffer 
for  sin;  and  yet  wilt  not  thou,  who  art  so  great  a  suf- 
ferer, own  thyself  a  smner?  JVast  thou  made  before 
MeA/7/s,  as  Wisdom  herself  was?  (Prov.viii.  23,  occ.) 
Must  God's  counsels,  which  are  as  the  great  moun- 
tains, (Ps.  xxxvi.  6.)  and  immoveable  as  the  ever- 
lasting hills,  be  subject  to  thy  notions,  and  bow  to 
them?  Dost  thou  know  more  of  the  world  than 
any  of  us  do?  No,  thou  art  but  of  yesterday,  even 
as  we  are,"  ch.  viii.  9.  Or,  2.  In  intimacy  of  ac- 
quaintance with  God;  {v.  8.)  "■Hast  thou  heard  the 
secret  of  God?  Dost  thou  pretend  to  be  of  the  ca- 
binet-council of  Heaven,  that  thou  canst  gi\  e  better 
reasons  than  others  can  for  God's  proceedings?" 
There  are  secret  things  of  God,  which  belong  not 
1 1  us,  and  which,  therefore,  we  must  not  pretend 
to  account  for:  those  are  daringly  presumptuous 
who  do.  He  also  represents  him,  (1. )  As  assuming 
to  himself  such  knowledge  as  none  else  had;  "Dost 
thou  restrain  wisdom  to  thyself,  as  if  none  were  wise 
besides?"  Job  had  said,  {ch.  xiii.  2.)  What  ye 
know,  the  same  do  I  know  also;  and  now  they  return 
upon  him,  according  to  the  usage  of  eager  dispu- 
tants, who  think  they  have  a  privilege  to  com- 
mend themselves;  What  knowest  thou  that  we  know 
not?  How  natural  are  such  replies  as  these,  in  the 
heat  of  argument!  But  how  simple  do  they  look 
afterward,  upon  the  review !  (2. )  As  opposing  the 
stream  of  antiquity,  a  venerable  name,  under  the 
shade  of  which  all  contending  parties  strive  to  shel- 
ter themselves;  "  With  us  are  the  gray-headed,  and 
very  aged  men,  v.  10.  We  have  the  fathers  on 
our  side;  all  the  ancient  doctors  of  the  church  are 
of  our  opinion."  A  thing  soon  said,  but  not  so  soon 
proved;  and,  when  proved,  truth  is  not  so  soon  dis- 
covered and  proved  by  it,  as  most  people  imagine. 
David  preferred  right  scripture-knowledge  before 
that  of  antiquity;  (Ps.  cxix.  100.)  /  understand 
more  than  the  ancients,  because  I  keep,  thy  firecepts. 
Or  perhaps  one  or  more,  if  not  all  three,  of  these 
friends  of  Job,  were  elder  than  he,  {ch.  xxxii.  6. ) 
and  therefore  they  thought  he  was  bound  to  ac- 
knowledge them  to  be  in  the  right.  This  also  serves 
contenders  to  make  a  noise  with,  to  very  little  pur- 
pose. If  they  are  elder  than  their  adversaries,  and 
can  say  they  knew  such  a  thing  before  they  were 
born,  it  will  serve  to  make  them  arrogant  and 
overbearing;  whereas  the  eldest  are  not  always 
the  wisest,  ch.  xxxii.  9. 

IV.  He  charges  him  with  a  contempt  of  the 
counsels  and  comforts  that  were  given  him  by  his 
friends;  {v.  11.)  Are  the  consolations  of  God  small 
with  thee?  1.  Eliphaz  takes  it  ill  that  Job  did  not 
value  the  cctiforts,  which  he  and  his  friends  admi- 


nisterea  to  him,  more  than  it  seems  he  did,  and  did 
not  welcome  every  word  they  said  as  true  and  im- 
portant. It  is  true,  they  had  said  some  very  good 
things,  but,  in  their  application  to  Job,  thev  were 
miserable  comforters.  Note,  We  are  apt  to  think 
that  gieat  and  considerable,  which  we  oursehes 
say,  when  others  perhaps,  with  good  reason,  think 
it  small  and  trifling.  Paul  found  that  those  who 
seemed  to  be  somewhat,  yet,  in  conference,  added 
nothing  to  him.  Gal.  ii.  6.  2.  He  represents  tliis  as 
a  slight  put  upon  divine  consolations  in  general,  as 
if  they  were  of  small  account  with  him,  whereas 
really  they  were  not:  if  he  had  not  highly  valued 
them,  he  could  not  have  borne  up  as  he  did  under 
his  sufferings.  Note,  (1. )  The  consolations  of  God 
are  not  in  themselves  small.  Divine  comforts  are 
great  things,  that  is,  the  comfort  which  \%  from 
God,  especially  the  comfort  which  is  in  God.  (2.) 
The  consolations  of  God  not  being  small  in  them- 
selves, it  is  very  bad  if  they  be  small  with  us.  It 
is  a  great  affront  to  God,  and  an  evidence  of  a  de- 
generate, atpraved,  mind,  to  disesteem  and  under- 
value spiritual  delights,  and  despise  the  pleasant 
land.  "What!"  (says  Eliphaz,)  "is  there  any 
secret  thing  with  thee?  Hast  thou  some  cordial  to 
support  thyself  with,  that  is  a  Proprium,  an  Ar- 
canum, that  no  body  else  can  pretend  to,  or  knows 
any  thing  of?"  Or,  "  Is  there  some  secret  sin  har- 
boured and  indulged  in  thy  bosom,  which  hinders 
the  operation  of  divine  comforts?"  None  disesteem 
divine  comforts  but  those  that  secretly  affect  the 
world  and  the  flesh. 
i  V.  He  charges  him  with  opposition  to  God  him- 
self, and  to  reUgion;  (x*.  12,  13.)  "  Why  doth  thine 
heart  carry  thee  away  into  such  indecent,  irreli- 
gious, expressions?"  Note,  Every  man  is  tempted, 
when  he  is  drawn  away  of  his  own  lust.  Jam.  i.  14. 
If  we  fly  off  from  God  and  our  duty,  or  fly  out  into 
any  thing  amiss,  it  is  our  own  heart  that  carries  us 
away.  If  thou  scornest,  thou  alone  shalt  bear  it. 
There  is  a  violence,  an  ungovernable  impetus,  in 
the  turnings  of  the  soul;  the  corrupt  heart  carries 
men  away,  as  it  were,  by  force,  against  their  con- 
victions. "What  is  it  that  thine  eyes  wink  -At} 
Why  so  careless  and  mindless  of  what  is  said  to 
thee,  hearing  it  as  if  thou  wert  half  asleep?  Why 
so  scornful,  disdaining  what  we  sav,  as  if  it  were 
below  thee  to  take  notice  of  it?  What  have  we 
said,  that  deserves  to  be  thus  slighted  >  Nay,  that 
thou  turnest  thy  spirit  against  God.?"  It  was  bi'd 
that  his  heart  was  carried  away  from  God,  t)ut 
much  worse  that  it  was  turned  against  God.  But 
they  that  forsake  God  will  soon  break  out  in  open 
enmity  to  him.  But  how  did  this  appear?  "Thou 
lettest  such  words  go  out  of  thy  mouth,  reflc'-.ting 
on  God,  and  his  justice  and  goodness."  It  is  the 
character  of  the  wicked,  that  they  set  their  ?nouth 
against  the  heavens,  (Ps.  Ixxiii.  9.)  which  is  a 
certain  indication  that  the  spirit  is  turned  against 
God.  He  thought  Job's  spirit  was  soured  against 
God,  and  so  turned  from  what  it  had  been,  and  exas- 
perated at  his  dealings  with  him.  Eliphaz  wanted 
candour  and  charity,  else  he  would  not  have  put 
such  a  harsh  construction  upon  the  speeches  of  one 
that  had  such  a  settled  reputation  for  piety,  and 
was  now  in  temptation.  This  was,  in  effect,  to  give 
the  cause  on  Satan's  side,  and  to  own  that  Job  had 
done  as  Satan  said  he  would,  had  ciosed  God  to  his 
face. 

VI.  He  charges  hinj  with  justifying  himself  to 
that  degree  as  even  to  deny  his  sharein  the  com- 
mon corruption  and  pollution  of.  the  human  nature, 
{v.  14.)  What  is  man,  that  he  should  be  clean? 
that  is,  that  he  should  pretend  to  be  so,  or  that  an<5 
should  expect  to  find  him  so.  What  is  he,  that  is 
born  of  a  woman,  a  sinful  woman,  that  he  should 
be  righteous?     Note,  1.  Righteousness  is  cleanness; 


18 


JOB,  XV. 


it  makes  us  acceptable  to  God,  and  easy  to  our- 
selves, Ps.  xviii.  24.  2.  Man,  in  his  fallen  state, 
cannot  pretend  to  be  clean  and  righteous  before 
God,  either  to  acquit  himself  to  God's  justice,  or 
recommend  himself  to  his  favour.  3.  He  is  there- 
fore to  be  adjudged  unclean  and  unrighteous,  be- 
cause born  of  a  woman,  from  whom  he  derives  a 
corrupt  nature,  which  is  both  his  guilt  and  his  pol- 
lution. With  these  plain  truths  Eliphaz  thinks  to 
convince  Job,  whereas  he  had  just  now  said  the 
same;  (ch.  xi\.  4.)  Who  can  bring  a  clean  thing 
out  of  an  unclean?  But  does  it  therefore  follow 
that  Job  is  a  hypocrite,  and  a  wicked  man,  which 
is  all  that  he  denied.'  By  no  means.  Thougli  man, 
as  born  of  a  woman,  is  not  clean,  yet,  as  born  again 
of  the  Spirit,  he  is. 
Further  to  evince  this,  he  here  shows, 
(1.)  That  the  brightest  creatures  aie  imperfect 
and  impure  before  God,  v.  15.  God  places  no  con- 
fidence in  saints  and  angels;  he  employs  both,  but 
trusts  neither  with  his  service,  without  giving  them 
fresh  supplies  of  strength  and  wisdom  for  it,  as 
knowing  they  are  not  sufficient  of  themselves,  nei- 
ther more  nor  better  than  his  grace  makes  them. 
He  takes  no  complacency  in  the  heavens  them- 
selves. How  pure  soever  they  seem  to  us,  in  his 
eye  they  have  many  a  speck  and  many  a  flaw; 
The  heavens  are  not  clean  in  his  sight.  If  the  stars 
(says  Mr.  Caryl)  have  no  light  in  the  sight  of  the 
sun,  what  light  has  the  sun  in  the  sight  of  God? 
See  Isa.  xxiv.  23. 

(2.)  That  man  is  much  more  so;  {v.  16.)  Hotv 
much  more  abominable  and  filthy  is  man.'  If  saints 
ai-e  not  to  be  trusted,  much  less  sinners.  If  the 
hea\ens  are  not  pure,  which  are  as  God  made 
them,  much  less  man,  who  is  degenerated.  Nay, 
he  is  abominable  and  filthy  in  the  sight  of  God, 
and,  if  ever  he  repent,  he  is  so  in  his  own  sight, 
and  therefore  he  abhors  himself.  Sin  is  an  odious 
thing,  it  makes  men  hateful.  The  body  of  sin  is  so, 
and  is  therefore  called  a  dead  body,  a  loathsome 
thing.  Such  is  the  filthiness  of  man,  that  he  drinks 
iniquity  (that  abominable  thing  which  the  Lord 
hates)  as  greedily,  and  with  as  much  pleasure,  as  a 
man  drinks  water  when  he  is  thirsty.  It  is  his  con- 
stant di-ink;  it  is  natural  to  sinners  to  commit  ini- 
quity. It  gratifies,  but  does  not  satisfy,  the  appetites 
of  the  old  man.  It  is  like  water  to  a  man  in  a  dropsy. 
The  more  men  sin,  the  more  they  would  sin, 

17.  1  will  show  thee,  hear  me;  and  that 
which  I  have  seen  I  will  declare ;  1 8. 
Which  wise  men  have  told  from  their  fa- 
thers, and  have  not  hid  it :  1 9.  Unto 
whom  alone  the  earth  was  given,  and  no 
stranger  passed  among  them.  20.  The 
wicked  man  travaileth  with  pain  all  his  days, 
and  the  number  of  years  is  hidden  to  the 
oppressor.  21.  A  dreadful  sound  is  in  his 
ears :  in  prosperity  the  destroyer  shall  come 
upon  him.  22.  He  believeth  not  that  he 
shall  return  out  of  darkness,  and  he  is  wait- 
ed for  of  the  sword.  23.  He  wandereth 
abroad  for  bread,  saying.,  Where  is  it?  he 
knoweth  that  the  day  of  darkness  is  ready 
nt  his  hand.  24.  Trouble  and  anguish  shall 
make  him  afraid ;  they  shall  prevail  against 
him,  as  a  king  ready  to  the  battle.  25. 
For  he  strotrheth  out  his  hand  against  God, 
and  strengthcnoth  himself  against  the  Al- 
mighty.    26.  He  runneth  upon  him,  even 


on  his  neck,  upon  the  thick  bosses  of  his 
bucklers ;    27.  Because  he  covereth  his  face 
with  his  fatness,  and  maketh  collops  of  fal 
on  his  flanks.     28.    And   he  dwelleth   in 
desolate  cities,  and  in  houses  which  no  man 
inhabiteth,   v\hich    are    ready   to   become 
heaps.     29.  He  shall  not  be  rich,  neither 
shall  liis  substance  continue,  neither  shall 
he  prolong  the  perfection  thereof  upon  the 
earth.     30.  He  shall  not  depart  out  of  dark- 
ness :  the  flame  shall  diy  up  his  branches, 
and  by  the  breath  of  his  mouth  shall  he  go 
away.     31.  Let  not  him  that  is  deceived 
trust  in  vanity ;  for  vanity  shall  be  his  re- 
compense.    32.  It  shall   be  accomplished 
before  his  time,  and  his  branch  shall  not  be 
green.     33.  He  shall  shake  off  his  unripe 
grape  as  the  vine,  and  shall  cast  off  his 
flower  as  the  olive.     34.  For  the  congrega- 
tion of  hypocrites  shall  he  desolate,  and  fire 
shall  consume  the  tabernacles  of  bribery. 
35.  They  conceive  mischief,  and  bring  forth 
vanity,  and  their  belly  prepareth  deceit. 

Eliphaz,  having  reproved  Job  for  his  answers, 
here  comes  to  maintain  his  own  thesis,  upon  which 
he  built  his  censure  of  Job.  His  opinion  is.  That 
those  who  are  wicked  are  certainly  miserable; 
whence  he  would  infer,  that  those  who  are  misera- 
ble are  certainly  wicked,  and  that  therefore  Job 
was  so.     Observe, 

I.  His  solemn  preface  to  this  discourse,  in  which 
he  bespeaks  Job's  attention,  which  he  had  little 
reason  to  expect,  he  having  given  so  little  heed  to, 
and  put  so  little  value  upon,  what  Job  had  said; 
{y.  17.)  "I  will  show  thee  that  which  is  worth 
hearing,  and  not  reason,  as  thou  dost,  with  unpro- 
fitable talk. "  Thus  apt  are  men,  when  they  condemn 
the  reasonings  of  others,  to  commend  their  own. 
He  promises  to  teach  him,  1.  From  his  own  expe- 
rience and  observation;  "  That  which  I  have  my- 
self seen  in  divers  instances,  I  will  declare."  It  ib 
of  good  use  to  take  notice  of  the  providences  of 
God  concerning  the  children  of  men,  from  which 
many  a  good  lesson  may  be  learned.  What  gord 
observations  we  have  made,  and  ha\  e  found  benefit 
by  ourselves,  we  should  be  ready  to  communicate 
for  the  benefit  of  others:  and  we  may  then  speak 
boldly,  when  we  declare  what  we  have  seen.  2. 
From  the  wisdom  of  the  ancients,  {y.  18.)  ivhich 
wise  men  have  told  from  their  fathers.  Note,  The 
wisdom  and  learning  of  the  modems  are  ^  ery  much 
derived  from  that  of  the  ancients.  Good  children 
will  learn  a  good  deal  from  their  good  parents:  and 
what  we  have  learned  from  our  ancestors  we  must 
transmit  to  our  posterity,  and  not  hide  from  the 
generations  to  come.  See  Ps.  Ixxviii.  3- -6.  If  the 
thread  of  the  knowledge  of  many  ages  be  cutoff  by 
the  carelessness  of  one,  and  nothing  be  done  to  pre 
serve  it  pure  and  entire,  all  that  succeed,  fare  the 
worse.  The  authorities  Eliphaz  vouched,  were  au- 
thorities indeed,  men  of  rank  and  figure,  (t.  19.) 
unto  whom  alone  the  earth  was  given,  and  there- 
fore you  mav  svippose  them  fiivourites  (>f  Heaven, 
and  best  capable  of  making  observations  concerning 
the  affairs  of  this  earth.  The  dictates  of  wisdom 
come  with  advantage  from  those  who  are  in  places 
of  dignity  and  power,  as  Solomon;  yet  there  is  a 
wisdom  vjhich  none  of  the  firinces  of  this  world 
knew,  1  Cor.  ii.  7,  8. 
II.  The  discourse  itself.     He  here  aims  to  show 


JOB,  XV. 


79 


1.  Th?.t  those  who  are  wise  and  good  do  ordina- 
rily prosper  in  this  world.  This  he  only  hints  at, 
c  19.  That  those  of  whose  mind  he  was,  were 
such  as  had  the  earth  given  to  them,  and  to  them 
only;  they  enjoyed  it  entirely  and  peaceably,  and  no 
stranger  passed  among  them,  either  to  share  with 
them,  or  to  give  disturbance  to  them.  Job  had  said. 
The  earth  is  given  into  the  hand  of  the  wicked, 
ch.  ix.  24.  "No,"  says  Eliphaz,  "  it  is  given  into 
the  hands  of  the  saints,  and  runs  along  with  the  faith 
committed  unto  them.  And  they  are  not  robbed 
and  plundered  by  strangers  and  enemies  making  in- 
roads upon  them,  as  thou  art  by  the  Sabean's  and 
Chaldeans."  But  because  many  of  God's  people 
have  remarkably  prospered  in  this  world,  as  Abra- 
ham, Isaac,  and  Jacob,  it  does  not  therefore  follow, 
that  those  who  are  crossed  and  impoverished,  as 
Job,  are  not  God's  people. 

2.  That  wicked  people,  and  particularly  oppres- 
sors, and  tyrannizing  rulers,  are  subject  to  continual 
terrors,  live  very  uncomfortably,  and  perish  very 
miserably.  On  this  head  he  enlarges,  showing  that 
even  they  who  impiously  dare  God's  judgments,  yet 
cannot  but  dread  them,  and  will  feel  them  at  last. 
He  speaks  in  the  singular  number,  the  wicked  man, 
meaning,  as  some  think,  Nimrod,  or  perhaps  Che- 
dorlaomer,  or  some  such  mighty  hunter  before  the 
Lord.  I  fear  he  meant  Job  himself,  whom  he  ex- 
pressly charges  both  with  the  tyranny,  and  with 
the  timorousness,  here  described,  ch,  xxii.  9,  10. 
Here  he  thinks  the  application  easy,  and  that  Job 
might,  in  this  description,  as  in  a  glass,  see  his  own 
face.     Now, 

(1.)  Let  us  see  how  he  describes  the  sinner  who 
lives  thus  miserably.  He  does  not  begin  with  that, 
but  brings  it  in  as  a  reason  of  his  doom,  v.  25. •28. 
It  is  no  ordinary  sinner,  but  one  of  the  first  rate,  an 
nfi/iressor,  {v.  20. )  a  blasfihemer,  and  a  fiersecutor, 
one  that  neither  fears  God,  nor  regards  man. 

[1.]  He  bids  defiance  to  God,  and  to  his  authori- 
ty and  power,  v.  25.  Tell  him  of  the  divine  law, 
and  its  obligations;  he  breaks  those  bonds  asunder, 
and  will  not  have,  no  not  him  that  made  him,  to  re- 
strain him  or  rule  over  him.  Tell  him  of  the  divine 
wrath,  and  its  terrors;  he  bids  the  Almighty  do  his 
worst,  he  will  have  his  will,  he  will  have  his  way, 
in  spite  of  him,  and  will  not  be  controlled  by  law,  or 
conscience,  or  the  notices  of  a  judgment  to  come. 
He  stretches  out  his  hand  against  God,  in  defiance 
of  him,  and  of  the  power  of  his  wrath.  God  is  in- 
deed out  of  his  reach,  but  he  stretches  out  his  hand 
against  him,  to  show,  that,  if  it  were  in  his  power, 
he  would  ungod  him. 

This  applies  to  the  audacious  impiety  of  some 
sinners,  who  are  really  haters  of  God,  (Rom.  i.  30.) 
and  whose  carnal  mind  is  not  only  an  enemy  to  him, 
but  enmity  itself,  Rom.  viii.  7.  But,  alas!  the  sin- 
ner's malice  is  as  impotent  as  it  is  impudent;  what 
can  he  do?  He  strengthens  himself  (he  would  be 
valiant,  so  some  read  it)  against  the  Almighty;  he 
thinks  with  his  exorbitant  despotic  power  to  change 
times  and  laws,  (Dan.  vii.  25. )  and,  in  spite  of  Pro- 
vidence, to  carry  the  day  for  rapine  and  wrong, 
clear  of  the  check  of  conscience.  Note,  It  is  the 
prodigious  madness  of  presumptuous  sinners,  that 
they  enter  the  lists  with  Omnipotence.  Woe  unto 
him  that  strives  with  hi<i  IVTaker.  That  is  generally 
taken  for  a  further  description  of  the  sinner's  daring 
presumption;  (x'.  26.)  He  m.-is  ufion  him,  upon 
God  himself,  in  a  direct  opposition  to  him,  to  his 
precepts  and  providences,  even  upon  his  neck,  as  a 
desperate  combatant,  wher  t*^  finds  himself  an  un- 
equal match  for  his  adversary,  flies  in  his  face, 
though,  at  the  same  time,  he  tails  on  his  sword's 
point,  or  the  shai-p  spike  of  his  buckler.  Sinners,  in 
general,  run  from  God;  but  the  presumptuous  sin- 
ner, who  sins  with  a  high  hand,  runs  ufion  him. 


fights  against  him,  and  bids  defiance  to  him ;  and  it  is 
easy  to  foretell  what  will  be  the  issue. 

[2.]  He  wraps  himself  up  in  security  and  sensu- 
ality; {v.  27.)  He  covers  hi^  face  with  hi^  fatness. 
This  signifies  both  the  pampering  of  his  fiesh  with 
daily  delicious  fare,  and  the  hardening  of  his  heart 
thereby  against  the  judgments  of  God.  Note,  The 
gratifying  of  the  appetites  of  the  body,  feeding  and 
feasting  that  to  the  full,  often  turns  to  the  damage  (f 
the  soul  and  its  interests.  Why  is  God  forgotten 
and  slighted,  but  because  the  belly  is  made  a  god  of, 
and  happiness  placed  in  the  delights  of  sense?  They 
that  fill  themselves  with  wine  and  strong  drink, 
abandon  all  that  is  serious,  and  flatter  themselves 
with  hopes  that  to-morrow  shall  be  as  this  day,  Isa, 
Ivi.  12.  Woe  to  them  that  are  thus  at  ease  in  Zion, 
Amos  vi.  1,  3,  4.  Luke  xii.  19.  The  fat  that  co- 
vers his  fare,  makes  him  look  bold  and  haughty, 
and  that  which  covers  his  flanks,  makes  him  lie 
easy  and  soft,  and  feel  little;  but  this  will  prove 
poor  shelter  against  the  darts  of  God's  wrath. 

[3.]  He  enriches  himself  with  the  spoils  of  all 
about  him,  v.  28.  He  dwellsin  cities  which  he  him- 
self has  made  desolate  by  expelling  the  inhabitants 
out  of  them,  that  he  might  be  placed  alone  in  them, 
Isa.  V.  8.  Proud  and  cruel  men  take  a  strange 
pleasure  in  ruins,  when  they  are  of  their  own  mak- 
ing; in  destroying  cities,  (Ps.  ix.  6.)  and  triumph- 
ing in  the  destruction,  since  they  cannot  make  them 
their  own,  but  by  making  them  ready  to  become 
heaps,  and  frightening  the  inhabitants  out  of  them. 
Note,  Those  that  aim  to  engross  the  world  to  them- 
selves, and  grasp  at  all,  lose  the  comfort  of  all,  and 
make  themselves  miserable  in  the  midst  of  all.  How 
does  this  tj^rant  gain  his  point,  and  make  himself 
master  of  cities  that  have  all  the  marks  of  antiquity 
upon  them?  We  are  told,  (v.  35.)  he  does  it  by 
malice  and  falsehood,  the  two  chief  ingredients  of 
his  wickedness,  who  was  a  liar  and  a  murderer  from 
the  beginning;  they  conceive  mischief,  and  then  they 
effect  it  by  preparing  deceit,  pretending  to  protect 
those  whom  they  design  to  subdue,  and  making 
leagues  of  peace,  the  more  effectually  to  carry  on 
the  operations  of  war.  From  such  wicked  men 
God  deliver  all  good  men. 

(2.)  Let  us  see  now  what  is  the  miserable  condi- 
tion of  this  wicked  man,  both  in  spiritual  and  tem- 
poral judgments. 

[1.]  His  inward  peace  is  continually  disturbed. 
He  seems  to  those  about  him  to  be  easy,  who,  there- 
fore, envy  him,  and  wish  themselves  in  his  condi- 
tion, but  He  who  knows  what  is  in  men,  tells  usthat 
a  wicked  man  has  so  little  comfort  and  satisfaction 
in  his  own  bi'east,  that  he  is  rather  to  be  pitied  than 
envied. 

First,  His  own  conscience  accuses  him,  and,  with 
the  pangs  and  throes  of  that,  he  travaileth  in  fiain 
all  his  da^,  x<.  20.  He  is  continually  uneasy  at  the 
thought  of  the  cruelties  he  has  been  guilty  of,  and 
the  blood  in  which  he  has  imbued  his  hands;  his 
sins  stare  him  in  the  face  at  every  turn.  Diri  con- 
scia  facti  mens  habet  attonitos — Conscious  guilt  as- 
tonishes and  confounds. 

Secondly,  He  is  vexed  at  the  uncertainty  of  the 
continuance  of  his  wealth  and  power;  the  number 
of  years  is  hidden  to  the  opfiressor.  He  knows, 
whatever- he  pretends,  that  it  will  not  last  always, 
and  has  reason  to  fear  that  it  will  not  last  long,  and 
this  he  frets  at. 

Thirdly,  He  is  under  a  certain  fearfil  expectation 
of  judgment  and  fiery  indignation,  (Heb.  x.  27.) 
which  puts  him  into,  and  keeps  him  in,  a  continual 
terror  and  consternation,  so  that  he  dwells  with 
Cain  in  the  land  of  Nod,  or  commotion,  (Gen.  iv. 
16.)  and  is  made  like  Pashur,  Magor-mis^abib — A 
terror  round  about,  Jer.  xx.  3,  4.  A  dreadful  sound 
is  in  his  ears,  v.  21.     He  knows  that  both  Heaven 


80 


JOB,  XV. 


and  earth  are  i.^censed  against  him,  that  God  is 
angry  with  him,  and  that  all  the  world  hates  him; 
he  has  done  nothing  to  make  his  peace  with  either, 
and  therefore  he  thinks  that  every  r ne  who  meets 
him  ivill  i/ay  him,  (ien.  i\ .  14.  Or,  like  u  m;m  ab- 
sronding  for  debt,  wlio  thinks  every  man  a  bailiff. 
Fear  r;ime  in,  at  first,  with  sin,  (Gen.  iii.  10.)  and 
still  attends  it.  Even  in  prosperity,  he  is  appre- 
hensive that  the  destroyer  will  come  upon  him, 
cither  some  destroying  angel  sent  of  God  to  avenge 
his  quarrel,  or  snnne  of  his  injured  subjects  who  will 
be  their  own  avengers.  Those  who  are  the  terror 
of  the  mighty  in  the  land  of  the  living,  usually  go 
down  slain  to  the  pit,  (Ezek.  xxxii.  25.)  the  ex- 
pectation of  wliich  makes  them  a  terror  to  them- 
selves. This  is  further  set  forth,  v.  22.  that  he  is, 
in  his  own  apprehension,  waited  for  of  the  sword; 
for  he  knows  that  he  who  killeth  with  the  sword, 
must  be  killed  with  the  sword.  Rev.  xiii.  10.  A 
guilty  conscience  represents  to  the  sinner  a  flammg 
sword  turning  everu  way,  (Gen.  iii.  24.)  and  him- 
self inevitably  running  on  it.  Again,  {v.  23.)  He 
knows  that  the  day  of  darkness,  (or  the  night  of 
darkness  rather)  is  ready  at  his  hand,  that  it  is  ap- 

Eointed  to  him,  and  cannot  be  put  by,  that  it  is 
astening  on  apace,  and  cannot  be  put  oflT.  This 
day  of  darkness  is  something  beyond  death ;  it  is  that 
day  of  the  Lord  which,  to  all  wicked  people,  will 
be  darkness  and  not  light,  and  in  which  they  will  be 
doomed  to  utter,  endless,  darkness.  Note,  Some 
wicked  people,  though  they  seem  secure,  have  al- 
ready received  the  sentence  of  death,  eternal  death, 
withm  themselves,  and  plainly  see  hell  gaping  for 
them.  No  marvel  that  it  follows,  {v.  24.)  Trouble 
and  anguish  (that  inward  tribulation  and  anguish  of 
soul  spoken  of,  Rom.  ii.  8,  9.  which  is  the  effect  of 
God's  indignation  and  wrath  fastening  upon  the 
conscience)  shall  make  him  afraid  of  worse  to  come. 
What  is  the  hell  before  him,  if  this  be  the  hell  with- 
mhim?  And  though  he  would  fain  shake  off  his 
feais,  drink  them  away,  and  jest  them  away,  it  will 
not  do;  they  shall  firex>ail  against  him,  and  over- 
power him,  as  a  king  ready  to  the  battle,  with  forces 
too  strong  to  be  resisted.  He  that  would  keep  his 
peace,  let  him  keep  a  good  conscience.    , 

Fourthly,  If  at  any  time  he  be  in  trouble,  he  de- 
spairs of  getting  out;  (t'.  22.)  He  believeth  not  that 
he  shall  return  out  of  darkness,  but  he  gives  him- 
self up  for  gone  and  lost  in  an  endless  night.  Good 
men  expect  light  at  evening  time,  light  out  of 
darkness;  but  what  reason  have  they  to  expect  that 
they  shall  return  out  of  the  darkness  of  trouble,  who 
would  not  return  from  the  darkness  of  sin,  but  went 
on  in  it?  Ps.  Ixxxii.  5.  It  is  the  misery  of  damned 
sinners,  that  thev  know  they  shall  never  return  out 
of  that  utter  darkness,  nor  pass  the  gulf  there  fixed. 

Fifthly,  He  perplexes  himself  with  continual 
care,  especially  if  Prov'dence  ever  so  Sttle  frown 
upon  him,  t.  2".  Such  a  dread  he  has  of  poverty, 
and  svich  a  waste  docs  he  discern  upon  his  estate, 
that. he  is  already,  in  his  own  imagination,  wander- 
ing abroad  for  bread,  going  ri-bei^ging  for  a  meal's 
meat,  and  saying,  JVhere  is  it?  The  rich  man,  in 
his  abundance,  cried  out.  What  shall  I  do?  Luke 
xii.  17.  Perhaps  he  pretends  fear  of  wanting,  as  an 
excuse  of  his  covetous  practices;  jnstlv  m;iy  he  be 
brought  to  tliis  extremity  at  last  We  read  of  those 
who  TOr7r  full,  but  have  hired  out  themselves  for 
bread,  (1  Snm.  ii.  5.)  which  this  sinner  will  not  do; 
he  cannot  dig,  he  is  too  fat,  {v.  27.)  but  to  beg  he 
may  well  be  ashamed.  See  Ps.  cix.  10.  David 
never  saw  the  righteous  so  far  forsaken  as  to  beg 
their  bread,  for,  verilv,  they  shall  be  fed  by  the 
charitable,  unasked,  Ps.  xxxvii.  3,  25.  But  the 
wicked  want  it,  and  cannot  expect  it  should  be 
readily  sriven  them.  How  should  they  find  mercy, 
who  never  showed  mercy.'' 


[2.]  Hi  J  outward  prosperity  will  so<ni  ccme  fi 
an  end,  and  all  his  confidence,  and  all  his  comfoit, 
will  come  to  an  end  with  it.  How  can  he  j)ro^per, 
when  God  runs  upon  him?  So  some  understand 
that,  V.  26.  Whom  God  runs  ufion,  he  will  cer 
tainly  run  down;  for  when  he  judges,  he  will  o\  er- 
come.  See  how  the  judgments  of  God  cross  this 
worldly  wicked  man  in  all  his  cares,  desires,  and 
projects,  and  so  complete  his  misery. 

First,  He  is  in  care  to  get,  but  he  shallnot  be  rich, 
V.  29.  His  own  covetous  mind  keeps  him  from  be- 
ing truly  rich.  He  is  not  rich,  that  has  not  enough; 
and  he  has  not  enough,  that  does  not  think  he  has. 
It  is  contentment  only  that  is  great  gain.  Provi 
dence  remarkably  keeps  some  from  being  rich,  de- 
feating their  enterprises,  breaking  their  measures, 
and  keeping  them  always  behind-hi'.nd.  Many  that 
get  much  by  fraud  and  injustice,  yet  do  not  grow 
rich;  it  goes  as  it  comes,  it  is  got  by  one  sin,  and 
spent  upon  another. 

Secondly,  He  is  in  care  to  keep  what  he  has  got, 
but  in  vain,  his  substance  shall  not  continue;  it  will 
dwindle  and  come  to  nothing,  God  blasts  it,  and  what 
came  up  in  a  night,  fierish/s  in  a  night.  Health,  got- 
ten by  vanity,  will  certainly  be  diminished.  Some 
have  themselves  lived  to  see  the  ruin  of  those  estates 
which  have  been  raised  by  oppression;  it  goes,  how- 
ever, with  a  curse  to  those  who  succeed.  De  male 
quBesitis  vix  gaudet  tertius  heeres — Ill-gotten  pro- 
perty will  scarcely  be  enjoyed  by  the  third  genera- 
tion. He  purchases  estates  to  him  and  his  heirs  for 
ever;  but  to  what  purpose?  He  shall  not  prolong 
the  perfection  thereof  upon  the  earth;  neither  the 
credit  nor  the  comfort  of  his  riches  shall  be  pro- 
longed; and,  when  those  are  gone,  where  is  the  per- 
fection of  them?  How  indeed  can  we  expect  the 
perfection  of  any  thing  to  be  prolonged  upon  the 
earth,  where  every  thing  is  transitory,  and  we  soon 
see  the  end  of  all  perfection? 

Thirdly,  He  is  in  care  to  leave  what  he  has  got 
and  kept,  to  his  children  after  him;  but  in  this  he 
is  crossed,  the  branches  of  his  family  shall  perish, 
in  whom  he  hoped  to  have  lived  and  flourished,  and 
to  have  had  the  reputation  of  making  them  all  great 
men.  They  shall  not  be  green,  v.  32.  The  Jlamt 
shall  dry  them  up,  v.  30.  He  shall  shake  them  off 
as  blossoms  that  never  knit,  or  as  the  unripe  grape, 
V.  33.  They  shall  die  in  the  beginningof  their  days, 
and  never  come  to  maturity  Many  a  man's  fami- 
ly  is  ruined  by  his  iniquity. 

Fourthly,  He  is  in  care  to  enjoy  it  a  great  while 
himself;  but  in  that  also  he  is  crossed.  1.  He  may 
perhaps  be  taken  from  it;  {v.  30.)  By  the  breath 
of  God's  mouth — (that  is,  by  his  wrath,  which,  like 
a  stream  of  brimstone,  kindles  the  fire  that  devours 
him,  Isa.  xxx.  33.  Or,  by  his  word;  he  spe:\ks,  and 
it  is  done  immediately) — shall  he  go  away,  and  leave 
his  wealth  to  others.  This  night,  thy  soul  shali 
be  required  of  thee;  and  so  the  wicked  is  driven 
away  in  his  wickedness,  the  worldling  in  his  world- 
liness.  2.  It  may  perhaps  be  taken  from  him,  and 
fly  away  like  an  eagle  toward  heaven:  It  shall  be 
accomplished  (or  cut  off)  before  his  time,  {v.  32.) 
that  is.  He  shall  survive  his  prosperity,  and  see  him- 
self stripped  of  it. 

Fifthly,  He  is  in  care,  when  he  is  in  trouble,  how 
to  get  out  of  it;  (not  how  to  get  good  by  it;)  but  in 
this  also  he  is  crossed;  {v.  30.)  He  shall  not  depart 
out  of  darkness;  when  he  begins  to  fall,  like  Hn- 
man,  down  with  him.  It  was  said  of  him,  {v.  22.) 
He  believeth  not  that  he  shall  return  out  of  dark- 
ness; he  frightened  himself  with  the  perpetuity  d 
his  calamity,  and  God  also  shall  choose  his  delusir-vs, 
and  bring  his  fears  upon  him,  (Isn.  lx\i.  4.)  as  lu- 
did  upon  Israel,  Numb.  xiv.  28.  God  snys,  Am.en, 
to  his  distrust  and  despair. 

Sixthly,  He  is  in  care  to  secure  his  partners,  anrl 


hopes  to  secure  himself  by  his  partnership  with 
them;  but  that  is  in  vain  too,  x'.  34,  35.  The  con- 
gregation of  them,  the  whole  confederacy,  they, 
and  all  their  tabernacles,  shall  be  desolate,  and  con- 
sumed with  fire.  Hypocrisy  and  bribery  are  here 
charged  upon  them;  that  is,  deceitful  dealing  both 
with  God  and  man:  God  affronted,  under  colour  of 
religion,  man  wronged,  under  colour  of  justice.  It 
:s  impossible  that  these  should  end  well.  Though 
hand  join  in  hand  for  the  support  of  these  pei-fidi- 
ous  practices,  yet  shall  not  the  wicked  go  unfiunished. 
(3. )  Tlie  use  and  application  of  all  this.  Will  the 
pi-osperitv  of  presumptuous  sinners  end  thus  mise- 
rably? Then,  {y.  31.)  Let  not  him  that  is  deceived 
trust  in  vanity.  Let  the  mischiefs  which  befall 
others  be  our  warnings,  and  let  not  us  rest  on  that 
broken  reed  which  always  failed  those  who  leaned 
on  it.  [1.]  Those  who  trust  to  their  sinful  ways  of 
getting  wealth,  trust  in  vanity,  and  vanity  will  be 
(heir  recomfiense,  for  they  shill  not  get  what  they 
expected.  Their  arts  will  deceive  them,  and  per- 
haps ruin  them  in  this  world.  [2.]  Those  who 
trust  to  their  wealth  when  they  have  gotten  it,  es- 
pecially to  the  wealth  they  have  gotten  dishonestly, 
trust  in  vanity,  for  it  will  yield  them  no  satisfaction. 
The  guilt  that  cleaves  to  it,  will  ruin  the  joy  of  it. 
They  sow  the  wind,  and  will  reap  the  whirlwind, 
and  will  own,  at  length,  with  the  utmost  confusion, 
that  a  deceived  heart  turned  them  aside,  and  that 
they  cheated  themselves  with  a  lie  in  their  right 
hand, 

CHAP.  XVI. 

Thi.s  chapter  begins  Job's  reply  to  that  discourse  of  Eliphaz 
which  we  had  in  the  foregoin<r  ehapterj  it  is  but  the  se- 
cond part  of  the  same  song  of  lamentation  with  which  he 
had  before  bemoaned  himself,  and  set  to  the  same  me- 
lancholy tune.  I.  He  upbraids  his  friends  with  their  un- 
kind usage  of  him,  v.  1  .  .  6.  II.  He  represents  his  own 
case  as  very  deplorable  upon  all  accounts,  v.  6  .  .  16.  III. 
He  still  holds  fast  his  integrity,  concerning  which  he 
appeals  to  God's  righteous  judgment,  from  the  unrigh- 
teous censures  of  his  friends,  v.  17 . .  22. 


1.  rj^HEN  Job  answered  and  said,  2.  I 
JL  have  heard  many  such  things :  mise- 
rable comforters  cnr  ye  all.  3.  Shall  vain 
words  have  an  end?  or  what  emboldeneth 
ihee  that  thou  answerest?  4.  I  also  could 
speak  as  ye  do :  if  your  soul  were  in  my 
^uPs  stead,  I  could  heap  up  words  against 
you,  and  shake  my  head  at  you.  5.  But 
I  would  strengthen  you  with  my  mouth, 
and  the  moving  of  my  lips  should  assuage 
i/our  grief. 

Both  Job  and  his  friends  took  the  same  way  that 
disputants  commonly  take,  which  is,  to  undervalue 
one  another's  sense,  and  wisdom,  and  management. 
The  longer  the  saw.  of  contention  is  drawn,  the 
hotter  it  grows;  and  the  beginning  of  this  sort  of 
strife  is  as  the  letting  forth  of  water,  therefore  leave 
it:  off  before  it  be  meddled  with.  Eliphaz  had  re- 
presented Job's  discourses  as  idle  and  unprofitable, 
and  nothing  to  the  purpose;  and  Job  here  gives  his 
the  same  character.  Those  who  are  free  in  passing 
such  censures,  must  expect  to  have  them  retoited; 
it  is  easy,  it  is  endless:  but  Cut  bono? — What  good 
does  it  do?  It  will  stir  up  men's  passions,  but  will 
never  convince  their  judgments,  nor  set  truth  in  a 
clear  light. 

Job  here  reproves  Eliphaz, 

1  For  needless  repetitions;  {v.  2.)  "/  have 
heard  many  such  things.  You  tell  me  nothing  but 
what  I  knew  before;  nothing  but  what  you  your- 
selves ha\  e  before  said;  you  offer  nothing  new,  it  is 

Vol.  III. — L 


JOB,  XVI.  81 

the  same  thing  over  and  over  again;"  which  Job 
thinks  as  great  a  trial  of  his  patience  as  almost  any 
of  his  troubles.  The  inculcating  of  the  same  thmgs 
thus  by  an  adversary,  is  indeed  provoking  and 
nauseous,  but  by  a  teacher  it  is  often  necessary, 
and  must  not  be  grievous  to  the  learner,  to  whom 
firece/it  must  be  u/ion  precept,  and  line  upon  line. 
Many  things  we  have  heard,  which  it  is  good  for 
us  to  hear  again,  that  we  may  understand  and  re- 
member them  belter,  and  be  more  affected  with 
them,  and  influenced  by  them. 

2.  For  unskilful  applications.  They  came  with 
a  design  to  comfoi-t  him,  but  they  went  about  it  very 
awkwardly,  and,  when  they  touched  Job's  case, 
quite  mistook  it;  "  Miserable  comforters  are  ye  all, 
who,  instead  of  offering  any  thing  to  alleviate  the 
affliction,  add  affliction  to  it,  and  make  it  yet 
more  grievous."  The  patient's  case  is  sad  indeed, 
when  his  medicines  are  poisons,  and  his  physicians 
his  worst  disease.  What  Job  says  here  of  his 
friends,  is  ti-ue  of  all  creatures,  in  comparison  with 
God,  and,  one  time  or  other,  we  shall  be  made  to 
see  it  and  own  it,  that  miserable  comforters  are 
they  all.  When  we  are  under  convictions  of  sin, 
terrors  of  conscience,  and  the  arrests  of  death,  it  is 
only  the  blessed  Spirit  that  can  comfort  effectually; 
all  others,  without  him,  do  it  miserably,  and  sing 
songs  to  a  heavy  heart,  to  no  purpose. 

3.  For  endless  impertinence.  Job  wishes  that 
vain  words  might  have  an  end,  x'.  3.  If  vain,  it 
were  well  that  they  were  never  begun,  and  the 
sooner  they  are  ended  the  better.  Those  who  are 
so  wise  as  to  speak  to  the  purpose,  will  be  so  wise 
as  to  know  when  they  have  said  enough  of  a  thing, 
and  when  it  is  time  to  break  off. 

4.  For  causeless  obstinacy.  JVhat  emboldeneth 
thee,  that  thou  answerest?'  It  is  very  rash  and 
unjust  confidence,  with  Eliphaz,  to  charge  men 
with  those  crimes  which  we  cannot  prove  upon 
them,  to  pass  a  judgment  on  men's  spiritual  state, 
upon  the  view  of  their  outward  condition,  and  to 
re-advance  those  objections  which  have  been  again 
and  again  answered. 

5.  For  the  violation  of  the  sacred  laws  of  friend- 
ship; doing  by  his  brother  as  he  would  not  have 
been  done  by,  and  as  his  brother  would  not  have 
done  by  him.  This  is  a  cutting  reproof,  and  very- 
affecting,  V.  4,  5. 

(1.)  He  desires  his  friends,  in  imagination,  for  a 
little  while,  to  change  conditions  with  him,  to  put 
their  souls  in  his  soul's  stead;  to  suppose  themselves 
in  misery  like  him.  and  him  at  ease  like  them. 
This  was  no  absurd  or  foreign  supposition,  but  what 
might  quickly  become  true  in  fact;  so  strange,  so 
sudden,  frequently,  are  the  vicissitudes  of  human 
affairs,  and  such  the  turns  of  the  wheel,  that  the 
spokes  soon  change  places.  Whatever  our  bre- 
thren's sorrows  are,  we  ought  by  sympathv  to  make 
them  our  own,  because  we  know  not  how  "soon  they 
may  be  so. 

(2.)  He  represents  the  unkindness  of  their  con- 
duct toward  him,  by  showing  what  he  could  do  to 
them,  if  they  were  in  his  condition.  I  could  speak 
as  ye  do.  It  is  an  easy  thhig  to  trample  upon  those 
that  are  down,  and  to  find  faidt  with  what  those  say 
that  are  in  extremity  of  pain  and  affliction.  "1 
could  heap  up  words  against  you,  as  you  do  against 
me;  and  how  would  you  like  it?  How  would  vou 
bear  it.'"  ^ 

(3.)  He  shows  them  what  they  should  do,  by 
telling  them  what,  in  that  case,  he  would  do;  {v.  5.) 
"  I  would  strengthen  you,  and  say  all  I  could  to 
assuage  your  grief,  but  nothing  to  aggravate  it." 
It  is  natural  to  sufferers  to  think  what'  they  would 
do,  if  the  tables  were  turned;  but  perhaps  our 
hearts  may  deceive  us;  we  know  not  what  we 
should  do.    We  find  it  easier  to  discern  the  reason 


q^ 


JOB,  XVI. 


ableness  and  importance  of  a  command,  when  we 
have  occasion  to  claim  the  benefit  of  it,  than  when 
we  have  occasion  to  do  the  duty  of  it.  See  what  is  the 
duty  we  owe  to  our  brethren  in  affliction.  [1.]  We 
should  say  and  do  all  we  can  to  strengthen  them, 
suggesting  to  them  such  considerations  as  are  pro- 
per to  encourage  their  confidence  in  God,  and  to 
support  their  sinking  spirits.  Faith  and  patience 
are  the  strength  of  the  afflicted;  what  helps  these 
graces,  confirms  the  feeble  knees.  [2.]  To  as- 
suage their  grief,  the  causes  of  their  grief,  if  pos- 
siblej_pr,  however,  their  resentment  of  those  causes. 
Good  words  cost  nothing;  but  they  may  be  of  good 
service  to  those  that  are  in  sorrow,  not  only  as  it  is 
some  comfort  to  them  to  see  their  friends  concerned 
for  them,  but  as  they  may  be  so  reminded  of  that 
which,  through  the  prevalency  of  grief,  was  for- 
gotten. Though  hard  words  (we  say)  break  no 
bones,  yet  kind  words  may  help  to  make  broken 
bones  rejoice;  and  those  have  the  tojigue  of  the 
'.earned,  that  know  how  to  speak  a  word  in  season 
to  the  weary. 

6.  Though  I  speak,  my  grief  is  not  as- 
suaged ;  and  though  I  forbear,  what  am  I 
3ased?  7.  But  now  he  hath  made  me 
weary :  thou  hast  made  desolate  all  my 
company.  8.  And  thou  hast  filled  me  with 
wrinkles,  which  is  a  witness  against  me : 
and  my  leanness  rising  up  in  me  beareth 
witness  to  my  face.  9.  He  teareth  me  in 
his  wrath  who  hateth  me :  he  gnasheth  upon 
me  with  his  teeth ;  mine  enemy  sharpeneth 
hi?  eyes  upon  me.  10.  They  have  gaped 
upon  me  with  their  mouth ;  they  have  smitten 
me  upon  the  cheek  reproachfully;  they  have 
gathered  themselves  together  against  me. 
11.  God  hath  delivered  me  to  the  ungodly, 
and  turned  me  over  into  the  hands  of  the 
wicked.  12.  I  was  at  ease,  but  he  hath 
broken  me  asunder :  he  hath  also  taken  me 
by  my  neck,  and  shaken  me  to  pieces,  and 
set  me  up  for  his  mark.  13,  His  archers 
compass  me  round  about ;  he  cleaveth  my 
reins  asunder,  and  doth  not  spare ;  he  pour- 
eth  out  my  gall  upon  the  ground.  14.  He 
breaketli  me  with  breach  upon  breach ;  he 
runneth  upon  me  like  a  giant.  1 5.  I  have 
sewed  sackcloth  upon  my  skin,  and  defiled 
my  horn  in  the  dust.  16.  My  face  is  foul 
with  weeping,  and  on  mine  eyelids  is  the 
shadow  of  death ; 

Job's  complaint  is  here  as  bitter  as  any  where  in 
all  his  discourses,  and  he  is  at  a  stand  whether  to 
smother  it  or  to  give  it  vent.  Sometimes  the  one, 
and  sometimes  the  other,  is  a  relief  to  the  afflicted, 
according  as  the  temper  or  the  circumstances  are; 
but  Jol)  found  help  by  neither,  v.  6.  (1.)  Some- 
times giving  vent  to  grief  gives  ease;  but,  "  Though 
I  sficafc,"  (says  Job,)  "  nuj  grief  is  not  assuaged, 
my  spirit  is  never  the  lighter  for  the  pouring  out  of 
my  complaint;  nay,  what  I  speak  is  so  misconstrued 
as  to  be  turned  to  the  aggravation  of  my  grief." 
(2.)  At  other  times,  kec])ing  silence  makes  the 
trouble  the  easier  and  the  sooner  forgotten;  but 
(says  Job)  though  T forbear,  I  am  never  the  nearer; 
irhat  am  leased?  If  he  complained,  he  was  cen- 
sured as  passionate;  if  not,  as  sullen.     If  he  main- 


tained his  integrity,  that  was  his  crime;  if  he  made 
no  answer  to  their  accusations,  his  silence  v^as  taken 
for  a  confession  of  his  guilt. 

Here  is  a  doleful  representation  of  Job's  grie- 
vances. O  what  reason  ha\  e  we  to  bless  God,  that 
we  are  not  making  such  complaints!  He  complains, 

1.  That  his  family  was  scattered;  {v.  7.)  "He 
hath  made  me  weary,  weary  of  speaking,  weary  of 
forbearing,  weary  of  my  friends,  weary  of  life  it- 
self; my  journey  through  the  world  proves  so  very 
uncomfortable,  that  I  am  quite  tired  with  it:"  this 
made  it  as  tiresome  as  any  thing,  that  all  his  com- 
pany was  made  desolate;  his  children  and  servants 
being  killed,  and  the  poor  remains  of  his  great 
household  dispersed.  The  company  of  good  peo 
pie,  that  used  to  meet  at  his  house  for  religious 
worship,  was  now  scattered,  and  he  spent  his  sab- 
baths in  silence  and  solitude.  He  had  company  in- 
deed, but  such  as  he  would  rather  have  been  v»  ith- 
out,  for  they  seemed  to  triumph  in  his  desolation. 
If  lovers  and  friends  are  put  far  from  us,  we  must 
see  and  own  God's  hand  in  it,  making  our  company 
desolate. 

2.  That  his  body  was  worn  away  with  diseases 
and  pains,  so  that  he  was  become  a  perfect  skele- 
ton, nothing  but  skin  and  bones,  v.  8.  His  face  was 
furrowed,  not  with  age,  but  sickness;  l^hou  hast 
filled  me  with  wrinkles.  His  flesh  was  wasted  with 
the  running  of  his  sore  boils,  so  that  his  leanness 
rose  up  in  him,  that  is,  his  bones,  that  were  not 
seen,  stuck  out,  ch.  xxxiii.  21.  These  are  called 
witnesses  against  him,  witnesses  of  God's  displea- 
sure against  him,  and  such  witnesses  as  his  friends 
produced  against  him  to  prove  him  a  wicked  man. 
Or,  "They  are  witnesses  ^br  me,  that  my  com- 
plaint is  not  causeless,"  or,  "  witnesses  to  me,  that 
I  am  a  dying  man,  and  must  be  gone  shortly." 

3.  That  his  enemy  was  a  terror  to  him,  threat- 
ened him,  frightened  him,  looked  stern  upon  him, 
and  gave  all  the  indications  of  rage  against  him ;  (v. 
9. )  He  tears  me  in  his  wrath.  But  who  is  this  enemy? 
Either,  (1.)  Eli/ihaz;  who  showed  himself  very 
much  exasperated  against  him,  and  perhaps,  had 
expressed  himself  with  such  marks  of  indignation 
as  are  here  mentioned:  at  least,  what  he  said  tore 
Job's  good  name,  and  thundered  nothing  but  terror 
to  him;  his  eyes  were  sharpened  to  spy  out  matter 
of  reproach  against  Job,  and  very  barbarously  both 
he  and  the  rest  of  them  used  him.  Or,  (2.)  ISatan; 
he  was  his  enemy,  that  hated  him,  and  perhaps,  by 
the  divine  permission,  terrified  him  with  appari-' 
tions,  as  (some  think)  he  terrified  our  Saviour, 
which  put  him  into  his  agonies  in  the  garden;  and 
thus  he  aimed  to  make  him  curse  God.  It  is  not 
improbable  that  this  is  the  enemy  he  means.  Or, 
(3.)  God  himself:  if  we  understand  it  of  him,  tht 
expressions  are  indeed  as  rash  as  any  he  used. 
God  hates  none  of  his  creatures;  but  Job's  melan- 
choly did  thus  represent  to  him  the  terrors  of  the 
Almighty:  and  nothing  can  be  more  grievous  to  a 
good  man,  than  to  apprehend  God  to.  be  his  enemy. 
If  the  wrath  of  a  king  be  as  messengers  of  death, 
what  is  the  wrath  of  the  King  of  kings ! 

4.  That  all  about  him  were  abusive  to  him;  {v. 
10.)  They  came  upon  him  with  open  mouth  to  de- 
vour him,  as  if  they  would  swallow  him  alive,  so 
terrible  were  their  threats,  and  so  scornful  was 
their  conduct  to  him.  They  offered  him  all  the 
indignities  they  could  invent,  and  even  smote  him 
on  the  cheek;  and  herein  many  were  confederate, 
they  gathered  themselves  together  against  him,  ever 
the'  abjects,  Ps.  xxxv.  15.  Herein  Job  was  a  type 
of  Christ,  as  many  of  the  ancients  make  him:  these 
very  expressions  are  used  in  the  predictions  of  his 
sufferings;  (Ps.  xxii.  13.)  They  gafied  upon  me 
with   their   mouths;  and  (Mic.  v.   1.)     Thry  shall 

I  smite  the  Judge  of  Israel  with  a  rod  upon  the  cheek, 


JOB,  XVI. 


which  was  literally  fulfilled,  Matth.  xxvi.  67.  How 
were  the\  increased  that  troubled  him! 

5.  That  God,  instead  of  delivering  him  out  of 
their  hands,  as  he  hoped,  delivered  him  into  their 
hands;  {v.  11.)  He  hath  turned  me  over  into  the 
hands  of  the  %uicked.  They  could  have  had  no 
power  against  him,  if  it  had  not  been  given  them 
from  above;  he  therefore  looks  beyond  them  to 
God,  who  gave  them  their  commission,  as  David 
did  when  Shimei  cursed  him;  but  he  thinks  it 
strange,  and  almost  thinks  it  hard,  that  those 
should  have  power  against  him,  who  were  God's 
enemies  as  much  as  his.  God  sometimes  makes  use 
of  wicked  men  as  his  sword  to  one  another,  (Ps. 
xvii.  13. )  and  his  rod  to  his  own  children,  Isa.  x.  5. 
Herein  also  Job  was  a  type  of  Christ,  who  was  de- 
livered into  wicked  hands,  to  be  crucified  and  slain, 
by  the  determinate  counsel  and  fore-knoiviedge  of 
God,  Acts  ii.  23. 

6.  That  God  not  only  delivered  him  into  the 
hands  of  the  wicked,  but  took  him  into  his  own 
hands  too,  into  which  it  is  a  fearful  thing  to  fall;  {v. 
12.)  "  I  was  at  ease,  in  the  comfortable  enjoyment 
of  the  gifts  of  God's  bounty,  not  fretting  and  un- 
easy, as  some  are  in  the  midst  of  their  prosperity, 
who  thereby  pro\oke  God  to  strip,  them;  yet  he 
has  broken  me  asunder,  put  me  upon  the  rack  of 
pain,  and  torn  me  limb  from  limb.  God,  in  afflict- 
mg  him,  had  seemed,  (1.)  As  if  he  were  furious: 
though  fury  is  not  in  God,  he  thought  it  was,  when 
he  took  him  by  the  neck,  (as  a  strong  man  in  a  pas- 
sion would  take  a  child,)  and  shook  him  to  pieces, 
triumphing  in  the  irresistible  power  he  had  to  do 
what  he  would  with  him.  (2.)  As  if  he  were  par- 
tial; "He  has  distinguished  me  from  the  rest  of 
mankind  by  this  hard  usage  of  me;  he  has  set  me 
up  for  his  mark,  the  butt  at  which  he  is  pleased  to 
let  fly  all  his  arrows:  at  me  they  are  directed,  and 
they  come  not  by  chance;  against  me  they  are 
levelled,  as  if  I  were  the  greatest  sinner  of  all  the 
men  of  the  east,  or  were  singled  out  to  be  made  an 
example."  When  God  set  him  up  for  a  mark,  his 
archers  presently  compassed  him  round.  God  has 
archers  at  command,  who  will  be  sure  to  hit  the 
mark  that  he  sets  up.  Whoever  are  our  enemies, 
we  must  look  upon  them  as  God's  archers,  and  see 
him  directing  the  arrow.  It  is  the  Lord;  let  him  do 
what  seemeth  him  good.  (3.)  As  if  he  were  cruel, 
and  his  wrath  as  relentless  as  his  power  was  resist- 
less. As  if  lie  contrived  to  touch  him  in  the  ten- 
derest  part,  cleaving  his  reins  asunder  with  acute 
pains,  perhaps  they  were  nephritic  pains,  those  of 
the  stone,  which  lie  in  the  region  of  the  kidneys.  As 
if  he  had  no  mercy  in  reserve  for  him,  he  does  not 
spare,  nor  abate  any  thing  of  the  extremity.  And, 
as  if  he  aimed  at  nothing  but  his  death,  and  his 
death  in  the  midst  of  the  most  grievous  tortures,  he 
flours  out  my  gall  ufion  the  ground.  As  when  men 
have  taken  a  wild  beast,  and  killed  it,  they  open  it, 
and  pour  out  the  gall  Avith  a  loathing  of  it.  He 
thought  his  blood  was  poured  out,  as  if  it  were  not 
only  not  precious,  but  nauseous.  (4.)  As  if  he  were 
unreasonable  and  insatiable  in  his  executions;  (v. 
14.)  "He  breaketh  me  with  breach  upon  Oreach, 
follows  me  with  one  wound  after  another."  So  his 
troubles  came  at  first;  while  one  messenger  of  evil 
tidings  was  speaking,  another  came;  and  so  it  was 
still,  new  boils  were  rising  every  day,  so  that  he 
had  no  prospect  of  the  end  of  his  troubles.  Thus 
he  thought  that  God  ran  upon  him  like  a  giant, 
whom  he  could  not  possibly  stand  before  or  con- 
front; as  the  giants  of  old  ran  down  all  their  poor 
neighbours,  and  were  tno  hard  for  them.  Note, 
Even  good  men,  when  they  are  in  great  and  extra- 
ordinary troubles,  have  much  ado  not  to  entertain 
hard  thoughts  of  God. 

7.  That  he  had  divested  himself  of  all  his  honour. 


and  all  his  comfort,  in  compliance  with  the  affiicl- 
ing  providences  that  surrounded  him.  Some  <,aii 
lessen  their  own  troubles  by  concealing  them,  hoki- 
ing  their  heads  as  high,  and  putting  as  good  a  face 
upon  them,  as  ever;  but  Job  could  not  do  so;  he 
received  the  impressions  of  them,  and,  as  one  truly 
penitent,  and  truly  patient,  he  humbled  himseli 
under  the  mighty  hand  of  God,  v.  15,  16.  (1.)  He 
now  laid  aside  all  his  ornaments  and  soft  clothing, 
consulted  not  either  his  ease  or  finery  in  his  dress, 
but  sewed  sackcloth  upon  his  skin;  that  clothing  lie 
thought  good  enough  for  such  a  defiled  distempered 
body  as  he  had.  Silks  upon  sores,  such  sores,  he 
thought,  would  be  unsuitable,  sackcloth  would  be 
more  becoming.  Those  are  fond  indeed  of  gay 
clothing,  that  will  not  be  weaned  from  it  by  sick- 
j  ness  and  old  age,  and,  as  Job  was,  {y.  8. )  bv  ivrin- 
j  kles  and  leanness.  He  not  only  fiut  on  sackcloth, 
but  seived  it  on,  as  one  that  resolved  to  continue  his 
humiliation  as  long  as  the  affliction  continued.  (2.) 
He  insisted  not  upon  any  points  of  honour,  but 
humbled  himself  under  humbling  providences;  he 
defiled  his  hor?i  in  the  dust,  and  refused  the  respect 
that  used  to  be  paid  to  his  dignity,  power,  and  emi- 
nency.  Note,  When  God  brings  down  our  condi- 
tion, that  should  bring  down  our  spirits.  Better  lay 
the  horn  in  the  dust,  than  lift  it  up  in  contradiction 
to  the  designs  of  Providence,  and  have  it  broken  at 
last.  Eliphaz  had  represented  Job  as  high  and 
haughty,  and  unhumbled  under  his  affliction;  "No," 
says  Job,  "  I  know  better  things;  the  dust  is  now 
the  fittest  place  for  me."  (3.)  He  banished  mirth 
as  utterly  unseasonable,  and  set  himself  to  sow  in 
tears;  {v.  16.)  *' My  face  is  foul  with  weeping  no 
constantly  for  my  sins,  f(.r  God's  displeasure  against 
me,  and  for  my  friends'  unkindness;  this  has  brought 
a  shadow  of  death  upon  my  eye-lids."  He  had  not 
only  wept  away  all  his  beauty,  but  almost  wept  his 
eyes  out.  In  this  also,  he  was  a  type  of  Christ,  who 
was  a  man  of  sorrows,  and  much  in  tears,  and  pro- 
nounced those  blessed  that  mourn,  for  they  shall  be 
comforted. 

1 7.  Not  for  ani/  injustice  in  my  hands : 
also  my  prayer  is  pure.  18.  O  earth,  cover 
not  thou  my  blood,  and  let  my  cry  have  no 
place.  19.  Also  now,  behold,  my  witness 
is  in  lieaven,  and  my  record  is  on  high.  20. 
My  friends  scorn  me ;  but  mine  eye  poureth 
out  fem^s  unto  God.  21.  Oh  that  one  might 
plead  for  a  man  with  God,  as  a  man  plead- 
eth  for  his  neighbour!  22.  When  a  few 
years  are  come,  then  I  shall  go  the  way 
whence  I  shall  not  return. 

Job's  condition  was  very  deplorable;  but  had  he 
nothing  to  support  him,  nothing  to  comfort  him? 
Yes,  and  he  here  tells  us  what  it  was. 

I.  He  had  the  testimony  of  his  conscience  for  him, 
that  he  had  walked  uprightly,  and  had  never  al- 
lowed himself  in  any  gross  sin.  None  was  ever 
more  ready  than  he  to  acknowledge  his  sins  of  in- 
firmity; but,  upon  search,  he  could  not  charge 
himself  with  any  enormous  crime,  for  which  he 
should  be  made  more  miserable  than  other  men,  t. 
17.  He  had  kept  a  conscience  void  of  ofl'ence, 
1.  Toward  men.  "  J\''ot  for  any  injustice  in  my 
hands,  any  wealth  that  1  have  unjustly  got  or 
kept."  Eliphaz  had  represented  him  as  a  tyrant 
and  an  oppressor;  "No,"  says  he,  "I  never  did 
any  wrong  to  any  man,  but  always  despised  the 
gain  of  oppression."  2.  Toward  God.  Jllso  my 
prayer  is  pure;  but  prayer  cannot  be  pure,  as 
long  as  there  is  injustice  in  our  hands,  Isa.  i.  15. 
Eliphaz  had  charged  him  with  hypocrisy  in  reli 


'^'i 


JOB,  XVI. 


ableness  and  importance  of  a  command,  when  we 
have  occasion  to  claim  the  benefit  of  it,  than  when 
we  ha\  e  occasion  to  do  the  duty  of  it.  See  what  is  the 
duty  we  owe  to  our  brethren  in  affliction.  [1.]  We 
should  say  and  do  all  we  can  to  strengthen  them, 
suggesting  to  them  such  considerations  as  are  pro- 
per to  encourage  their  confidence  in  God,  and  to 
support  their  sinking  spirits.  Faith  and  patience 
are  the  strength  of  the  afflicted;  what  helps  these 
graces,  confirms  the  feeble  knees.  [2.]  To  as- 
suage their  grief,  the  causes  of  their  grief,  if  pos- 
sible^j)!',  however,  their  resentment  of  those  causes. 
Good  words  cost  nothing;  but  they  may  be  of  good 
service  to  those  that  are  in  sorrow,  not  only  as  it  is 
some  comfort  to  them  to  see  their  friends  concerned 
for  them,  but  as  they  may  be  so  reminded  of  that 
which,  through  the  prevalency  of  grief,  was  for- 
gotten. Though  hard  words  (we  say)  break  no 
bones,  yet  kind  words  may  help  to  make  broken 
bones  rejoice;  and  those  have  the  toiigue  of  the 
'.earned,  that  know  how  to  sfieak  a  word  in  season 
to  the  weary. 

6.  Though  I  speak,  my  grief  is  not  as- 
suaged ;  and  though  I  forbear,  what  am  I 
2ased?  7.  But  now  he  hath  made  me 
weary:  thou  hast  made  desolate  all  my 
company.  8.  And  thou  hast  filled  me  with 
wrinkles,  which  is  a  witness  against  me : 
and  my  leanness  rising  up  in  me  beareth 
witness  to  my  face.  9.  He  teareth  me  in 
his  wrath  who  hateth  me :  he  gnasheth  upon 
me  with  his  teeth  ;  mine  enemy  sharpeneth 
hi?  eyes  upon  me.  10.  They  have  gaped 
upon  me  with  their  mouth ;  they  have  smitten 
me  upon  the  cheek  reproachfully ;  they  have 
gathered  themselves  together  against  me. 
1 1 .  God  hath  delivered  me  to  the  ungodly, 
and  turned  me  over  into  the  hands  of  the 
wicked.  12.  I  was  at  ease,  but  he  hath 
broken  me  asunder :  he  hath  also  taken  nie 
by  my  neck,  and  shaken  me  to  pieces,  and 
set  me  up  for  his  mark.  1 3.  His  archers 
compass  me  round  about ;  he  cleaveth  my 
reins  asunder,  and  doth  not  spare ;  he  pour- 
eth  out  my  gall  upon  the  ground-  1 4.  He 
breaketh  me  with  breach  upon  breach ;  he 
runneth  upon  me  like  a  giant.  1 5.  I  have 
sewed  sackcloth  upon  my  skin,  and  defiled 
iny  horn  in  the  dust.  1 6.  My  face  is  foul 
with  weeping,  and  on  mine  eyeUds  is  the 
shadow  of  death ; 

Job's  complaint  is  here  as  bitter  as  any  where  in 
all  his  discourses,  and  he  is  at  a  stand  whether  to 
smother  it  or  to  give  it  vent.  Sometimes  the  one, 
and  sometimes  the  other,  is  a  relief  to  the  afflicted, 
according  as  the  temper  or  the  circumstances  are; 
but  Job  found  help  by  neither,  v.  6.  (1.)  Some- 
times giving  vent  to  grief  gives  ease;  but,  "  Though 
I  sfieak,"  (says  Jol),)  "  niij  grief  is  not  assuaged, 
my  spirit  is  never  the  lighter  for  the  pouring  out  of 
my  complaint;  nay,  what  I  speak  is  so  misconstrued 
as  to  be  turned  to  the  aggravation  of  my  grief." 
(2.)  At  other  times,  kec])ing  silence  makes  the 
trouble  the  easiei'  and  the  sooner  forgotten;  but 
(says  Job)  though  I  forbear,  I  am  never  the  nearer; 
ivliac  am  leased?  If  he  complained,  he  was  cen- 
sured as  passionate;  if  not,  as  sullen.     If  he  main- 


tained his  integrity,  that  was  his  crime;  if  he  made 
no  answer  to  their  accusations,  his  silence  was  taken 
for  a  confession  of  his  guilt. 

Here  is  a  doleful  representation  of  Job's  grie- 
vances. O  what  reason  have  we  to  bless  God,  that 
we  are  not  making  such  complaints !  He  comjilains, 

1.  That  his  family  was  scattered;  {y.  7.)  " //e 
hath  made  me  weary,  weary  of  speaking,  weary  of 
forbearing,  weary  of  my  friends,  weary  of  life  it- 
self; my  journey  through  the  world  pioves  so  very 
uncomfortable,  that  I  am  quite  tired  with  it:"  this 
made  it  as  tiresome  as  any  thing,  that  all  his  com- 
pany was  made  desolate;  his  children  and  servants 
being  killed,  and  the  poor  remains  of  his  great 
household  dispersed.  The  company  of  good  peo- 
ple, that  used  to  meet  at  his  house  for  religious 
worship,  was  now  scattered,  and  he  spent  his  sab- 
baths in  silence  and  solitude.  He  had  coni])any  in- 
deed, but  such  as  he  would  rather  ha\  e  been  w  ith- 
out,  for  they  seemed  to  triumph  in  his  desolation. 
If  lovers  and  friends  are  put  far  from  us,  we  must 
see  and  own  God's  hand  in  it,  making  our  company 
desolate. 

2.  That  his  body  was  worn  away  with  diseases 
and  pains,  so  that  he  was  become  a  perfect  skele- 
ton, nothing  but  skin  and  bones,  x;.  8.  His  face  was 
furrowed,  not  with  age,  but  sickness;  Thou  hast 
filled  me  with  wrinkles.  His  flesh  was  wasted  with 
the  running  of  his  sore  boils,  so  that  his  leanness 
rose  up  in  him,  that  is,  his  bones,  that  were  not 
seen,  stuck  out,  ch.  xxxiii.  21.  These  are  called 
witnesses  against  him,  witnesses  of  God's  displea- 
sure against  him,  and  such  witnesses  as  his  friends 
produced  against  him  to  prove  him  a  wicked  man. 
Or,  "They  are  witnesses  for  me,  that  my  com- 
plaint is  not  causeless,"  or,  '*  witnesses  to  me,  that 
I  am  a  dying  man,  and  must  be  gone  shortly." 

3.  That  iiis  enemy  was  a  terror  to  him,  threat- 
ened him,  frightened  him,  looked  stern  upon  him, 
and  gave  all  the  indications  of  rage  against  him ;  (i-. 
9.)  He  tears  Tne  in  his  wrath.  But  who  is  this  enemy? 
Either,  (1.)  Elifihaz;  who  showed  himself  very 
much  exasperated  against  him,  and  perhaps,  had 
expressed  himself  with  such  marks  of  indignation 
as  are  here  mentioned;  at  least,  what  he  said  tore 
Job's  good  name,  and  thundered  nothing  but  terror 
to  him;  his  eyes  were  sharpened  to  spy  out  matter 
of  reproach  against  Job,  and  very  barbarously  both 
he  and  the  rest  of  them  used  him.  Or,  (2.)  Satan; 
he  was  his  enemy,  that  hated  him,  and  perhaps,  by 
the  divine  permission,  terrified  him  with  appari-' 
tions,  as  (some  think)  he  terrified  our  Saviour, 
which  put  him  into  his  agonies  in  the  garden;  and 
thus  he  aimed  to  make  him  curse  God.  It  is  not 
improbable  that  this  is  the  enemy  he  means.  Or. 
(3.)  God  himself:  if  we  understand  it  of  him,  the 
expressions  are  indeed  as  rash  as  any  he  used. 
God  hates  none  of  his  creatures;  but  Job's  melan- 
choly did  thus  represent  to  him  the  terrors  of  the 
Almighty:  and  nothing  can  be  more  grievous  to  a 
good  man,  than  to  apprehend  God  to  be  his  enemy, 
if  tlie  wrath  of  a  king  be  as  messengers  of  death, 
what  is  the  wrath  of  the  King  of  kings! 

4.  That  all  about  him  were  abusi\  e  to  him;  {xk 
10.)  They  came  upon  him  with  open  mouth  to  de- 
vour him,  as  if  they  would  swallow  him  alive,  so 
terrible  were  their  threats,  and  so  scornful  was 
their  conduct  to  him.  They  offered  him  all  the 
indignities  they  could  invent,  and  even  smote  him 
on  the  cheek;  and  herein  many  were  confederate, 
they  gathered  themselves  together  against  him,  ever 
tlie'  al)jects,  Ps.  xxxv.  15.  Herein  Jot)  was  a  type 
of  Christ,  as  many  of  the  ancients  make  him:  these 
very  expressions  are  used  in  the  predictions  of  his 
sufferings;  (Ps.  xxii.  13.)  They  gafied  u/ion  me 
with  their  mouths;  and  (Mic.  v.  1.)  They  shall 
smite  the  Judge  of  Israel  with  a  rod  upon  the  cheek, 


their  l.aodsjtf'j'jri,^' 

g  when  btaw  *^  ,  fc 

should  to-erjj^^ 
enemies  as  mw**^,, 
of  wicked  in*  ■■r^^ 

liveredinloficW*^-' 
by  iliei/f.'tr«»-" '"'•■■■ 
(,W,Actsii.'i    ^^^ 
i  That  frxl  «  *  ■?? 
|,ajdsofthe«irWX»" 
liM(lstoo,iiiKi»MMiWJ 
12l"Iwasatf«,i»*"T 
ofthegiftsrfGod'.!-".-^ 
easr,  assume  «■*■*•■ 
whotlierel)ypn)iitW'**f 
has  l)riien  tne  aiip  ?*  *  * 
pain,  and  ton:.' 
injliiiii,l\ii(i  !' 
tlioiijii  fun'  1)  i!      ' 
k  look  him':)!'.   ■   l 
sicnwouldi't' 
tmmphiii?  iri  ■ 
wtiatl\ew«!i^, 
tial;"HeL-  ■ 
mankind  k : ,  ■ 
iiptiirliisiii;'.  ■ 
letfinllliisr 

tliev  come  r.  ij  ;'ui:,  ^ji 
lei'elHaMfltnArpw* 
men  of  the  east,  uirr 
example,"  WTiesGj:. 

arclierspresen:Ircni»»a;iai, 
arcliers  a' "— ■-<  -    ' 


marii 
we 


less, 


atcc.T,Diiiii,iv.  «lg^ 

'"^  "lathe sets  1*  »\ 

Mstlookgpdt^ 
"faitigtherr/., 

hisTOiViS-i— - 
.\siC., 


derest  [ 
pains,  perhap,' 
w  stone,  whir; 
"leliadnamr, 
pare,  nor  abav, 
f  if  lie  aimed  :■ 
Ml  in  the  mi,-'.- 

*JOD(», 

i"etakena»' 


""Motprecif,: 
"HfeasonabJe  ;• 

•"smevitt 
S^lescame':. 


«, 


Uew 


spti, 


'hiiti-' 


JOB,  XVII. 


85 


unkindness  of  his  friends  to  him,  and  to  justify  his 
own  con)plaints.     Let  us  see  what  his  case  was. 

1.  He  was  a  dying  man,  v.  1.  He  had  said,  (cA. 
xvi.  22.)  "  When  a  feiv  years  are  come,  I  shall  go 
that  long  journey. "  But  here  he  corrects  himself, 
"Why  do  I  talk  of  years  to  come.''  Alas!  I  am  just 
setting  out  on  that  journey,  am  now  ready  to  be  of- 
fei-ed,  and  the  time  of  my  departure  is  at  hand;  my 
breath  is  already  corrupt,  or  broken  off,  my  spirits 
aj"e  spent,  I  am  a  gone  man."  It  is  good  for  e\ery 
one  <^f  us  thus  to  look  upon  ourselves  as  dying,  and 
especially  to  think  of  it  when  we  are  sick.  We  are 
dying,  that  is,  (1.)  Our  life  is  going,  for  the  breath 
of  life  is  going.  It  is  continually  going  forth,  it  is  in 
our  nostrils,  (Isa.  ii.  22.)  the  door  at  which  it  en- 
tered; (Gen.  ii.  7.)  there  it  is  upon  the  threshold, 
ready  to  depart.  Perhaps,  Job's  distemper  obstructed 
his  breathing,  and  short  breath  will,  after  a  while, 
be  no  breath.  Let  the  jlnointed  of  (he  Lord  be  the 
breach  of  our  nostrils,  and  let  us  get  spiritual  life 
breathed  into  us,  and  that  breath  will  never  be  cor- 
rupted. (2.)  Our  time  is  ending;  My  days  are 
extinct,  are  put  out,  as  a  candle,  which,  from  the 
first  lighting,  is  continually  wasting  and  burning 
down,  and  will  by  degrees  burn  out  of  itself,  but 
may  by  a  thousand  accidents  be  extinguished.  Such 
is  life.  It  concerns  us,  therefore,  Carefully  to  re- 
deem the  days  of  time,  and  to  spend  them  in  get- 
ting ready  for  the  days  of  eternity,  which  will  never 
be  extinct.  (3. )  We  are  expected  in  our  long  home; 
The  graves  are  ready  for  me.  But  would  not  one 
gra\  e  serve?  Yes,  but  he  speaks  of  the  sepulchres  of 
his  fathers,  to  which  he  must  be  gathered:  "The 
graves  where  they  are  laid,  are  ready  for  me  also," 
graves  in  consort,  the  congregation  of  the  dead. 
Wherever  we  go,  there  is  but  a  step  between  us 
and  the  gra\  e.  Whatever  is  unready,  that  is  ready; 
it  is  a  bed  soon  made.  If  the  graves  be  ready  for 
us,  it  concerns  us  to  be  ready  for  the  graves.  The 
graves  for  me,  so  it  runs;  denoting  not  only  his  ex- 
pectation of  death,  but  his  desire  of  it;  "I  have 
done  with  the  world,  and  have  nothing  now  to  wish 
for  but  a  grave." 

2.  He  was  a  desfiised  man;  {v.  6.)  "  He,"  (that 
is,  Eliphaz,  so  some,  or  rather  God,  whom  he  all 
along  acknowledges  to  be  the  Author  of  his  calami- 
ties) •'  has  made  ?ne  a  by-word  of  the  fieofile,  the 
talk  of  the  country,  a  laughing-stock  to  many,  a 
gazing-stock  to  all;  and  aforetime,  or,  to  men's 
faces,  publicly,  I  was  as  a  tabret,  that  whoever 
chose  might  play  upon;"  tlicy  made  ballads  of  him; 
his  name  became  a  proverb;  it  is  so  still,  .//s  poor 
as  Job.  He  has  now  made  me  a  by-word,  a  reproach 
of  men,  whereas,  aforetime,  in  my  prosperity,  I 
was  as  a  tabret,  Deliciee  humani  generis — The  dar- 
ling of  the  human  race,  whom  they  were  all  pleased 
with.  It  is  common  for  those  who  were  honoured 
in  their  wealth,  to  be  despised  in  their  poverty. 

3.  He  was  a  man  of  sorrows,  v.  7.  He  wept  so 
much,  that  he  had  almost  lost  his  sight;  Mine  eye 
is  dim  by  reason  of  sorrow,  ch.  xvi.  16.  The  sor- 
row of  the  world  thus  works  darkness  and  death. 
He  vexed  so  much,  that  he  had  fretted  all  the  flesh 
away,  and  was  become  a  perfect  skeleton;  nothing 
but  skin  and  bones;  *' jill  my  members  are  as  a  sha- 
dow. I  am  grown  so  poor  and  thin,  that  I  am  not 
to  be  called  a  man,  but  the  shadow  of  a  man." 

II.  The  ill  use  which  his  friends  made  of  his  mi- 
series; they  trampled  upon  him,  and  insulted  over 
him,  and  condemned  him  as  a  hypocrite,  because 
he  was  thus  grievously  afflicted.  Hard  usage!  Now 
observe, 

1.  How  Job  describes  it,  and  what  construction 
he  puts  upon  their  discourses  with  him.  He  looks 
upon  himself  as  basely  abused  by  them.  (1.)  They 
abused  him  with  their  foul  censures,  condemning 
hjm  as  ?.  bad  man,  justly  reduced  thus,  and  exposed  [ 


to  contempt,  v.  2.  "  They  are  mockers,  who  de- 
ride my  calamities,  and  insult  over  me,  because  I 
am  thus  brought  low.  They  are  so  with  me,  abusing 
me  to  my  face,  pretending  friendship  in  their  visit, 
but  intending  mischief.  I  cannot  get  clear  of  them; 
j  they  are  continually  tearing  me,  and  thej^  will  not 
"  be  wrought  upon,  either  by  reason  or  pity,  to  let 
fall  the  prosecution."  (2.)  They  abused  him  too 
with  their  fail-  promises,  for  in  them  they  did  but 
banter  him.  He  reckons  them  {v.  5. )  among  those 
that  speak  flattery  to  their  friends.  They  all  ca.ne 
to  mourn  with  him;  Eliphaz  began  with  a  commen- 
dation of  him,  ch.  iv.  3.  They  had  all  promised 
him  that  he  would  be  happy,  if  he  would  take  their 
advice.  Now  all  this  he  looked  upon  as  flattery, 
and  as  designed  to  vex  him  so  much  the  more.  All 
this  he  calls  their  firovocation,  v.  2.  They  did 
what  they  could  to  provoke  him,  and  then  con- 
demned him  for  his  resentment  of  it;  but  he  thinks 
himself  excusable  when  his  eye  continued  thus  in 
their  firovocation;  it  never  ceased,  and  he  could 
never  look  off  it.  Note,  The  unkindness  of  those 
that  trample  upon  their  friends  in  affliction,  that 
banter  and  abuse  them  then,  is  enough  to  try,  if  not 
to  tire,  the  patience  even  of  Job  himself. 

2.  How  he  condemns  it.  (1.)  It  was  a  sign  that 
God  had  hid  their  heart  from  understanding,  {v. 
4.)  and  that  in  this  matter  they  were  infatuated, 
and  their  wonted  wisdom  was  departed  from  them. 
Wisdom  is  a  gift  of  God,  which  he  grants  to  some, 
and  withholds  from  others,  grants  at  some  times, 
and  withholds  at  other  times.  Those  that  are  void 
of  compassion,  are  so  far  void  of  understanding. 
Where  there  is  not  the  tenderness  of  a  man,  <  ne 
may  question  whether  there  be  the  understanding 
of  a  man.  (2. )  It  would  be  a  lasting  reproach  and 
diminution  to  them;  Therefore  shalt  thou  not  exalt 
them.  Those  are  certainly  kept  back  from  lionr.ur, 
whose  hearts  are  hid  from  understanding.  \Mien 
God  infatuates  men,  he  will  abase  them.  Surely 
they  who  discover  st  little  acquaintance  with  the 
methods  of  Providence,  shall  not  have  the  honour 
of  deciding  this  controversy!  That  is  reserved  for 
a  man  of  better  sense,  and  better  temper,  such  an 
one  as  Elihu  afterward  appeared  to  be.  (3.)  It 
would  entail  a  curse  upon  their  families.  He  that 
thus  violates  the  sacred  laws  of  friendship,  forfeits 
the  benefit  of  it,  not  only  for  himself,  but  for  his 
posterity.  "  Even  the  eyes  of  his  children  shall  fail, 
and  when  they  look  for  succour  and  comfort  from 
their  own  and' their  father's  friends,  they  shall  look 
in  vain,  as  I  have  done,  and  be  as  much  disappoint- 
ed Hs  I  am  in  you."  Note,  Those  that  wrong  their 
neighbours,  may,  in  the  end,  wrong  their  own  chil- 
dren more  than  they  are  aware  of. 

3.  How  he  appeals  from  them  to  God;  {y.  3.) 
Lay  down  now,  fiut  me  in  a  surety  with  thee,  that 
is,  "Let  me  be  assured  that  God  will  take  the  hear- 
ing and  determining  of  the  cause  into  his  own  hands, 
and  I  desire  no  more.  Let  some  one  engage  for 
God  to  bring  on  this  .matter. "  Thus  they  whose 
heaits  condemn  them  not,  have  confidence  toward 
God,  and  can,  with  humble  and  believing  boldness, 
beg  of  him  to  search  and  try  them.  Some  make 
Job  here  to  glance  at  the  mediation  of  Christ,  foi 
he  speaks  of  a  Surety  with  God,  without  whom  he 
durst  not  appear  before  God,  nor  try  his  cause  at 
his  bar;  for  though  his  friends'  accusations  of  him 
were  utterly  false,  yet  he  could  not  justify  himself 
before  God  but  in  a  Mediator.  Our  English  anno 
tations  give  this  reading  of  the  verse,  "  J/ifioint, 
I  firay  thee,  my  Surety  with  thee,  namely,  Christ, 
who  is  with  thee  in  heaven,  and  has  undertaken  to 
be  rny  Surety:  let  him  plead  my  cause,  and  stand 
up  for  me;  and  vjho  is  he  then  that  will  strike  ufion 
mine  hand!-'"  that  is,  "Who  dares  then  contend 
with  me.''  Who  shall  lay  any  thi.ng  to  my  charge. 


djS 


JOB,  XVII. 


if  Christ  be  an  advocate  for  me?"  Rom.  viii.  32,  33. 
Christ  is  the  Surety  of  the  better  testament,  (Heb. 
vii.  22.)  a  Surety  of  God's  appointing;  and  if  he 
undertake  for  us,  we  need  not  fear  what  can  be 
done  against  us. 

III.  The  good  use  which  the  righteous  should 
make  of  Job's  afflictions  from  God,  from  his  ene- 
mies, and  from  his  friends,  v.  8,  9.     Observe  here,  ^ 

1,  How  the  saints  are  described.  (1.)  They  are 
upright  men,  honest,  and  sincere,  and  that  act  from 
a  steady  principle,  with  a  single  eye.  This  was 
Job's  own  character;  {c/i.  i.  1.)  and,  probably,  he 
speaks  of  such  upright  men  especially  as  had  been 
his  intimates  and  associates.  (2.)  They  are  the 
^  innocent;  not  perfectly  so,  but  it  is  what  they  aim 
at,  and  press  toward.  Sincerity  is  evangelical  inno- 
cency,  and  they  that  ai-e  upright  are  said  to  be  i?i- 
nocent  from  the  great  trayisgression,  Ps.  xix.  13. 
(3.)  They  are  the  righteous,  who  walk  in  the  way 
of  righteousness.  (4.)  They  have  clean  hands, 
kept  clean  from  the  gross  pollutions  of  sin,  and, 
when  spotied  with  infirmities,  washed  with  iiino- 
cencii,  Ps.  xxvi.  6. 

2.'  How  they  should  be  affected  with  the  account 
of  Job's  troubles.  Great  inquiry,  no  doubt,  would 
be  made  concerning  him,  and  every  one  would 
speak  of  him  and  his  case;  and  what  use  will  good 
people  make  of  it? 

(1.)  It  will  amaze  them;  Ufiright  men  shall  be 
astonished  at  this;  they  will  wonder  to  hear  that  so 
good  a  man  as  Job  should  be  so  grievously  afflicted 
in  body,  name,  and  estate;  that  God  should  lay  his 
hand  so  heavy  upon-him,  and  that  his  friends,  who 
ought  to  have  comforted  him,  should  add  to  his 
grief;  that  such  a  remarkable  saint  should  be  such 
a  remarkable  sufferer,  and  so  useful  a  man  laid 
aside  in  the  midst  of  his  usefulness;  what  shall  we 
say  to  these  things?  Upright  men,  though  satisfied, 
in  general,  that  God  is  wise  and  holy  in  all  he  does, 
yet  cannot  but  be  astonishefl  at  such  dispensations 
of  Providence;  paradoxes  which  will  not  be  un- 
folded till  the  mystery  of  God  shall  be  finished. 

(2.)  It  will  animate  them.  Instead  of  being  de- 
terred from,  and  discouraged  in,  the  service  of 
God,  by  the  hard  usage  which  this  faithful  ser- 
vant of  God  met  with,  they  shall  be  so  much  the 
more  imboldened  to  proceed  and  persevere  in  it. 
That  which  was  St.  Paul's  care,  (1  Thess.  iii.  3.) 
was  Job's,  that  no  good  man  should  be  moved 
either  from  his  holiness,  or  his  comfort,  by  these 
afflictions,  that  none  should,  for  the  sake  hereof, 
think  the  worse  of  the  ways  or  work  of  God.  And 
that  which  was  St.  Paul's  comfort,  was  his  too,  that 
the  brethren  of  the  Lord  would  wax  confident  by 
his  bonds,  Philip  i.  14.  They  would  hereby  be 
animated, 

[1.]  To  oppose  sin,  and  to  confront  the  corrupt 
and  pernicious  inferences  which  evil  men  would 
draw  from  Job's  sufferings,  as,  That  God  has  for- 
saken the  earth,  That  it  is  in  vain  to  serve  him ;  and 
the  like;  The  innocent  shall  stir  ufi  himself  against 
the  hy/iocrife,  will  not  bear  to  hear  this,  (Rev.  ii.  2.) 
but  will  withstand  him  to  his  face;  will  stir  up 
himself  to  search  into  the  meaning  of  such  provi- 
dences, and  study  these  hard  chapters,  that  he  may 
read  them  readily;  will  stir  up  himself  to  maintain 
religion's  just,  biit  injured,  cause  against  all  its  op- 
posers.  Note,  The  boldness  of  the  attacks  which 
profane  people  make  upon  religion,  should  sharpen 
*he  courage  and  resolution  of  its  friends  and  advo- 
cates. It  is  time  to  stir,  when  proclamation  is  made 
■.n  the  gate  of  the  camp,  Who  is  on  the  Lord's  side? 
When  vice  is  daring,  it  is  no  time  for  virtue, 
through  fear,  to  hide  itself. 

[2.]  To  persevere  in  religion.  The  righteous, 
instead  of  drawing  back,  or  so  much  as  starting 
back,  at  this  frightful  spectacle,  or  standing  still  to 


deliberate  whether  he  should  proceed  or  no,  (allude 
to  2  Sam.  ii.  23. )  shall,  with  so  much  the  more  con- 
stancy and  resolution,  hold  on  his  way,  and  press 
forward.  Though,  in  me,  he  foresees  that  bonds 
and  afflictions  abide  him,  yet  none  of  those  things 
shall  move  him.  Acts  xx.  24.  Those  who  keep  their 
eye  upon  heaven  as  their  end,  will  keep  their  feet 
in  the  paths  of  religion  as  their  way,  whatever  diffi- 
culties and  discouragements  they  meet  with  in  it. 

[3.]  In  order  thereunto,  to  grow  in  grace.  He 
will  not  only  hold  on  his  way  notwithstanding,  but 
will  grow  stronger  and  stronger,  and,  by  the  sight 
of  other  good  men's  trials,  and  the  experience  of 
his  own,  he  will  be  made  more  vigorous  and  lively 
in  his  duty,  more  warm  and  affectionate,  more  reso- 
lute and  undaunted:  the  worse  others  are,  the  bet- 
ter he  will  be;  that  which  dismays  others,  im- 
boldens  him.  The  blustering  wind  makes  the  tra- 
veller gather  his  cloak  the  closer  about  him,  and 
gird  it  the  faster.  They  that  are  truly  wise  and 
good,  will  be  continually  growing  wiser  and  better. 
Proficiency  in  religion  is  a  good  sign  of  sincerity 
hi  it. 

10.  But  as  for  you  all,  do  you' return, 
and  come  now  :  for  1  cannot  find  07ie  wise 
man  among  you.  11.  My  days  are  past,  my 
pui-poses  are  broken  off,  eveji  the  thoughts 
of  my  heart.  12.  They  change  the  night 
into  day :  the  light  is  short  because  of  dark- 
ness. 1 3.  If  I  wait,  the  grave  is  my  house : 
I  have  made  my  bed  in  the  darkness.  14. 
1  have  said  to  corruption.  Thou  art  my  fa- 
ther: to  the  worm.  Thou  art  my  mother 
and  my  sister.  15.  And  where  is  now  my 
hope  ?  as  for  my  hope,  who  shall  see  it  ? 
^6.  They  shall  go  down  to  the  bars  of  the 
pit,  when  our  rest  together  is  in  the  dust. 

Job's  friends  had  pretended  to  comfort  him  with 
the  hopes  of  his  return  to  a  prosperous  estate  again; 
now  he  here  shows, 

I.  That  it  was  their  folly  to  talk  so;  {v.  10.) 
"  Return,  and  come  now,  be  convinced  that  you 
are  in  an  error,  and  let  me  persuade  you  to  be  of 
my  mind;  for  /  cannot  find  any  wise  man  among 
you,  that  knows  how  to  explain  the  difficulties  oT 
God's  pro\  idence,  or  how  to  apply  the  consolations 
of  his  promises."  Those  do  not  go  wisely  about 
the  work  of  comforting  the  afflicted,  who  fetch 
their  comforts  from  the  possibility  of  their  reco\  ery 
and  enlargement  in  this  world;  though  that  is  not  to 
be  despaired  of,  it  is,  at  the  best,  uncertain,  and  if  it 
should  fail,  as  perhaps  it  may,  the  comfort  built 
upon  it  will  fail  too.  It  is  therefore  our  wisdom  to 
comfort  ourselves,  and  others,  in  distress,  with  that 
which  will  not  fail,  the  promise  of  God,  his  love 
and  grace,  and  a  well-grounded  hope  of  eternal 
life. 

11.  That  it  would  be  much  more  his  folly  to 
heed  them;  for, 

1.  All  his  measures  were  already  broken,  and  he 
was  full  of  confusion,  T.  11,  12.  He  owns  he  had, 
in  his  prosperity,  often  pleased  himself  both  with 
projects  of  what  he  should  do,  and  prospects  of 
what  he  should  enjoy;  but  now  that  he  looked 
upon  his  days  as  past",  and  drawing  towards  a  pe- 
riod, all  those  purposes  were  broken  off",  and  those 
expectations  daslied.  He  had  had  thoughts  about 
enlarging  his  border,  incrensing  his  stock,  and  set- 
tling his  children,  and  many  pious  thoughts,  it  i? 
likelv,  of  promoting  religion  in  his  cruntry,  re- 
dressing grievances,  reforming  the  profane,  reliev- 


JOB,  XVllL 


ing  the  poor,  and  raising  funds,  perhaps,  for  chari- 
table uses;  but  all  these  thoughts  of  his  heart  were 
now  at  an  end,  and  he  would  never  have  the  satis- 
faction of  seeing  his  designs  effected.  Note,  The 
period  of  our  days  will  be  the  period  of  all  our  con- 
trivances and  hopes  for  this  world;  but  if  with  full 
purpose  of  heart  we  cleave  to  the  Lord,  death  will 
not  break  off  that  purpose. 

Job,  being  thus  put  upon  new  counsels,  was  under 
a  constant  uneasiness;  {v.  12. )  7'Ae  thoughts  of  his 
heart  being  broken,  thejj  changed  the  flight  into 
day,  and  shortened  the  light.  Some,  in  their  vunity 
and  riot,  turn  night  into  day  and  day  into  night;  but 
Job  did  so,  through  trouble  and  anguish  of  spirit, 
which  was  a  hindei'ance,  (1.)  To  the  repose  of  the 
night;  keeping  his  eyes  waking,  so  that  tlie  night 
was  as  wearisume  to  him  as  the  day,  and  the  tosses 
of  the  night  tired  him  as  much  as  the  toils  of  the 
day.  (2. )  To  the  entertainments  of  the  day.  ' '  The 
light  of  the  morning  is  welcome,  but,  by  reason  of 
this  inward  darkness,  tlie  comfort  of  it  is  soon 
gone,  and  the  day  is  to  me  as  dismal  as  the  black 
and  dark  night,"  Deut.  xxviii.  67.  See  what  reason 
we  have  to  be  thankful  for  the  health  and  ease 
which  enable  us  to  welcome  both  the  shadows  of 
the  evening  and  the  light  of  the  morning. 

2.  All  his  expectations  from  this  world  would 
very  shortly  be  buried  in  the  grave  with  him;  so 
that  it  was  a  jest  for  him  to  think  of  such  mighty 
things  as  they  had  flattered  him  with  the  hopes  of; 
{ch.  V.  19. — viii.  21. — xi.  17.)  "Alas,  you  do  but 
make  a  fool  of  me. " 

(1.)  He  saw  himself  just  dropping  into  the  grave. 
A  convenient  house,  an  easy  bed,  and  agreeable  re- 
lations, are  some  of  those  things  which  we  take  sa- 
tisfaction in  in  this  world:  Job  expected  not  any  of 
these  above  ground;  all  he  felt,  and  all  he  had  in 
view,  was  unpleasing  and  disagreeable,  but  under 
ground  he  expected  them. 

[1.]  He  counted  upon  no  house  but  the  grave; 
{y.  13.)  "  If  I  wait,  if  there  be  any  place  where  1 
shall  ever  be  easy  again,  it  must  be  in  the  grave.  I 
should  deceive  myself,  if  I  should  count  upon  any 
outlet  from  my  trouble  but  what  death  will  give 
me.  Nothing  is  so  sure  as  that. "  Note,  In  all  our 
prosperity,  it  is  good  to  keep  death  in  prospect. 
Whatever  we  expect,  let  us  be  sure  to  expect  that; 
for  that  may  pre\  ent  other  things  which  we  expect, 
but  nothing  will  prevent  that.  But  see  how  he  en- 
deavours not  only  to  reconcile  himself  to  the  grave, 
but  to  recommend  it  to  himself:  "It  is  my  house." 
The  grave  is  a  house;  to  the  wicked  it  is  a  prison- 
house;  {ch.  xxiv.  19,  20.)  to  the  godly  it  is  Betha- 
bara,  a  fiassage-house  in  their  way  home.  "It  is 
my  house,  mine  by  descent,  I  am  born  to  it;  it  is  my 
father's  house;  mine  by  purchase,  I  have  made 
myself  obnoxious  to  it."  We  must  every  one  of  us 
shortly  remove  to  this  house,  and  it  is  our  wisdom 
to  provide  accordingly;  let  us  think  of  removing, 
and  send  before  to  our  long  home. 

[2.  ]  He  counted  upon  no  quiet  bed  but  in  the 
darkness;  "There,"  says  he,  " I  have  made  my 
bed.  It  is  made,  for  it  is  ready,  and  I  am  just  going 
to  it."  The  grave  is  a  bed,  for  we  shall  rest  in  it 
the  evening  of  our  day  on  earth,  and  rise  from  it  in 
the  morning  of  our  everlasting  day,  Isa.  Ivii.  2. 
Let  this  make  good  people  willing  to  die;  it  is  but 
going  to  bed,  they  ai'e  weary  and  sleepy,  and  it  is 
time  that  they  were  in  their  beds;  why  should 
they  not  go  willingly,  when  their  Father  calls? 
"  Nay,  /  have  made  my  bed,  by  preparation  for  it; 
have  endeavoured  to  make  it  easy,  by  keeping 
conscience  pure,  by  seeing  Christ  lymg  in  this  bed, 
and  so  turning  it  into  a  bed  of  spices,  and  by  looking 
bevond  it  to  the  resurrection. " 

[3.]  He  counted  upon  no  agreeable  relations  but 
wiiai  he  had  m  the  grave;  (f.  14.)  /  have  cried  to 


corruption,  that  is,  to  the  grave,  where  the  body 
will  corrupt.  Thou  art  my  father,  for  our  bodies 
were  formed  out  of  the  earth,  and  to  the  worms 
there.  Ye  are  my  mother  and  my  sister,  to  whom  I 
am  allied,  for  7nan  is  a  worm,  and  with  whom  I 
must  be  conversant,  for  the  worms  shall  cover  us, 
ch.  xxi.  26.  Job  complained  that  his  kindred  were 
estranged  from  him,  {ch.  xix.  13,  14.)  therefore 
here  he  claims  acquaintance  with  other  relations, 
that  would  cleave  to  him,  when  those  disowned 
him.  Note,  First,  We  are  all  of  us  near  akin  to 
corruption  and  the  worms.  Secondly,  It  is,  there- 
fore, good  to  make  ourselves  familiar  with  them,  by 
conversing  much  with  them  in  our  thoughts  and 
meditations,  which  would  very  much  help  us  above 
the  inordinate  lo\  e  of  life  and  fear  of  death. 

(2. )  He  saw  all  his  hopes  from  this  world  drop- 
ping into  the  grave  with  him;  {y.  15,  16.)  "Seeing 
1  must  shortly  leave  the  world,  where  is  now  m.y 
hofie?  How  can  I  expect  to  prosper,  who  do  not  ex- 
pect to  live?"  He  is  not  hopeless,  but  his  hope  is 
not  there  where  they  would  have  it  be.  If  in  this 
life  only  he  had  ho/ie,  he  were  of  all  men  most  mi- 
serable: "  No,  as  for  my  hope,  that  hope  which  I 
comfort  and  support  myself  with,  who  shall  see  it? 
It  is  something  out  ot  sight  that  I  hope  for,  not 
things  that  are  seen,  that  are  temporal,  but  things 
not  seen,  that  are  eternal. "  What  is  his  hope,  he  will 
tell  us,  ch,  xix.  25.  JVon  est  mortale  quod  o/tto, 
immortale  fieto — J  seek  not  for  that  which  fierishes, 
but  for  that  which  abides  for  ever.  "  But  as  for  the 
hopes  you  would  buoy  me  up  with,  they  shall  go 
down  with  me  to  the  bars  of  the  pit;  you  are  dying 
men,  and  cannot  make  good  your  promises,  I  am  a 
dying  man,  and  cannot  enjoy  the  good  you  promise. 
Since,  therefore,  our  rest  will  be  together  in  the 
dust,  let  us  all  lay  aside  the  thouglits  of  this  world, 
and  set  our  hearts  upon  another."  We  must  shortly 
be  in  the  dust,  for  dust  we  are,  dust  and  ashes  in 
the  pit,  under  the  bars  of  the  pit,  held  fast  t'nei-e, 
never  to  loose  the  bands  of  death  till  the  general 
resurrection.  But  we  shall  rest  there,  we  shall  rest 
together  there.  Job  and  his  friends  could  not  agree 
now,  but  they  will  both  be  quiet  in  the  grave;  the 
dust  of  that  will  shortly  stop  their  mouths,  and  put 
an  end  to  the  controversy.  Let  the  foresight  of  this 
cool  the  heat  of  all  contenders,  and  moderate  the 
disputers  of  this  world. 

CHAP.  XVIII. 

In  this  chapter,  Bildad  makes  a  second  assault  upon  Job. 
hi  his  first  discourse  (ch.  viii.)  he  had  given  him  en- 
couragement to  hope  that  all  should  yet  be  well  with 
him.  But  here,  there  is  not  a  word  of  that ;  he  is  grown 
more  peevish,  and  is  so  far  from  being  convinced  by 
Job's  reasonings,  that  he  is  but  more  exasperated.  I. 
He  sharply  reproves  Job,  as  haughty  and  passionate, 
and  obstinate  in  his  opinion,  v.  1  .  .  4.  II.  He  enlarges 
upon  ihe  doctrine  he  had  before  maintained,  concerning 
the  misery  of  wicked  people,  and  the  ruin  that  attends 
them,  V.  5.  .21.  In  which  he  seems,  all  along,  to  have 
an  eye  to  Job's  complaints  of  the  miserable  condition  he 
was  in,  that  he  was  in  the  dark,  bewildered,  ensnared, 
terrified,  and  hastening  out  of  the  world.  "  This,"  says 
Bildad,  "  is  the  condition  of  a  wicked  man  ;  and,  there- 
fore, thou  art  one." 

l.npHEN  answered  Bildad  the  Sluihite, 
JL  and  said,  2.  How  long  loill  it  be 
ere  you  lYiake  an  end  of  words  ?  mark,  and 
afterwards  we  will  speak.  3.  Wlierefoie 
are  we  counted  as  beasts,  and  reputed  vile 
in  your  sight  ?  4.  He  teareth  himself  in  his 
anger :  shall  the  earth  be  forsaken  for  thee  ? 
and  shall  the  rock  be  removed  out  of  his 
place  ? 


88 


JOB,  XVIII. 


Bildad  here  shoots  his  arrows,  even  bitter  words, 
against  poor  Job,  little  thinking,  that,  though  he 
was  a  wise  and  good  man,  in  this  instance  he  was 
serving  Satan's  design,  in  adding  to  his  affliction. 

1.  He  charges  him  with  idle,  endless,  talk,  as 
Eliphaz  had  done;  {cli.  xv,  2,  3. )  How  long  ivill  it 
be  ere  ye  make  an  end  of  words?  v.  2.  Here  he  re- 
flects, not  only  upon  Job  himself,  but  either  upon 
all  the  managers  of  the  conference,  (thinking,  per- 
haps, that  Eliphaz  and  Zophar  did  not  speak  so 
close  to  the  purpose  as  they  might  have  done,)  or 
upon  some  that  were  present,  who,  possibly,  took 
part  with  Job,  and  put  in  a  word  now  and  then  in 
his  favour,  though  it  be  not  recorded.  Bildad  was 
weary  of  hearing  others  speak,  and  impatient  till  it 
came  to  his  turn;  which  cannot  be  observed  to  any 
man's  praise,  for  we  ought  to  be  swift  to  hear,  and 
slow  to  speak.  It  is  common  for  contenders  to  mo- 
nopolize the  reputation  of  wisdom,  and  then  to  in- 
sist upon  it  as  their  privilege  to  be  dictators.  How 
unbecoming  that  is  in  others,  e\  ery  one  can  see; 
but  few  that  are  guilty  of  it  can  see  it  in  thenri- 
selves.  Time  was,  when  Job  had  the  last  word  in 
all  debates;  {c/i.  xxix.  22.)  Jfter  my  words  they 
sfiake  not  again.  Then  he  was  in  power  and  pros- 
perity; but  now  that  he  was  impoverished  and 
brouglit  low,  he  could  scarcely  be  allowed  to  speak 
at  all,  and  every  thing  he  said  was  as  much  vilihed 
as  formerlv  it  had  been  magnified.  Wisdom, 
therefore,  (as  the  world  goes)  is  good  with  an  inhe- 
ritance; (Eccl.  vii.  11.)  tor  the  floor  man's  wisdom 
is  despised,  and,  because  he  is  poor,  his  words  are 
r.ot  heard,  Eccl.  ix.  16. 

2.  With  a  regardlessness  of  what  was  said  to 
him,  intimated  in  that,  Mark,  and  afterwards  we 
will  sfieak.  And  it  is  to  no  purpose  to  speak, 
though  what  is  said  be  ever  so  much  to  the  purpose, 
if  those  to  whom  it  is  spoken  will  not  mark  and 
obser\e  it.  Let  the  ear  be  ofiened  to  hear  as  the 
learned,  and  then  the  tongues  of  the  learned  will  do 
good  service,  (Isa.  1.  4.)  and  not  otherwise.  It  is 
an  encouragement  to  those  that  speak  of  the  things 
of  God,  to  see  the  hearers  attentive. 

3.  With  a  haughty  contempt  and  disdain  of  his 
friends,  and  of  that  which  they  offered;  (r.  3.) 
IVhcrrfore  are  we  counted  as  beasts?  This  was  in- 
vidious: Job  had  indeed  called  them  mockers,  had 
represented  them  both  as  unwise  and  as  unkind, 
wanting  both  in  the  reason  and  tenderness  of  men, 
but  he  did  not  count  them  beasts;  yet  Bildad  so  repre- 
sents it,  (1.)  Bee  luse  his  high  spirit  resented  what 
Job  had  said,  as  if  it  had  been  the  greatest  affront 
imagln  ible.  Proud  men  are  apt  to  think  themselves 
slighted  more  than  really  they  are.  (2.)  Because 
his  liot  spiiit  was  willing  to  find  a  pretence  to  be 
hard  upon  Jol).  Those  that  incline  to  be  severe 
upon  others,  will  have  it  thought  that  they  have 
first  been  so  upon  them. 

4.  WiMi  outrageous  passion;  He  teareth  himself 
in  his  ani^er,  v.  4.  Herein  he  seems  to  reflect  upon 
what  Job  had  said,  {ch.  xiii.  14.)  Wherefore  do  J 
take  mu, flesh  in  my  teeth?  "  It  is  thine  own  fault," 
says  Bildad;  or  he  reflected  upon  what  he  said,  {ch. 
xvi.  9.)  where  he  seemed  to  charge  it  up'n  God; 
or,  as  some  think,  upon  Eliphaz;  He  teareth  me  in 
his  wrath.  "No,"  says  Bildad,  "thou  alone  shalt 
bear  it."  He  teareth  himself  in  his  anger.  Note, 
Anger  is  a  sin  tliat  is  its  own  punishment.  Fretful, 
passionate,  people  tear  and  torment  themselves. 
He  tearrth  his  soul,  so  the  word  is;  every  sin  wounds 
the  soul,  tears  th  it,  wrongs  that,  (Prov.  viii.  36.) 
unbridled  passions  particularly. 

5.  With  a  proud  and  arrogant  expectation  to  give 
law  even  to  Providence  itself;  "Shall  the  earth  be 
fjrsaken  for  thee?    Surely  not;  there  is  no  reason 

for  that,  that  tlie  course  of  nature  should  be  changed, 
and  the  settled  rules  of  government  violated,  to  gra- 


tify the  humour  of  one  man.  Job,  dos^  thou  think 
the  world  cannot  stand  without  thee;  but  that,  if 
thou  art  ruined,  all  the  world  is  ruined  and  forsaken 
with  thee?"  Some  make  it  a  reproof  of  Job's  jus- 
tification of  himself,  falsely  insinuating,  that  either 
Job  was  a  wicked  man,  or  we  must  deny  a  Provi- 
dence, and  suppose  that  God  has  forsaken  the  earth, 
and  the  Rock  of  ages  is  removed.  It  is  rather  a 
just  reproof  of  his  passionate  complaints;  when  we 
quarrel  with  the  events  of  Providence,  we  forget, 
that,  whatever  befalls  u|,  it  is,  (1.)  According  to 
the  eternal  purpose  and  counsel  of  God.  (2. )  Ac- 
cording to  the  written  word.  Thus  it  is  written, 
that  in  the  world  we  must  have  tribulation,  that 
since  we  sin  daily,  we  must  expect  to  smart  for  it; 
and,  (3.)  According  to  the  usual  way  and  custom, 
the  tracK.  of  Providence,  nothing  but  what  is  com- 
mon to  men:  and  to  expect  that  God's  counsels 
should  change,  his  method  alter,  and  his  word  fail, 
to  please  us,  is  as  absurd  and  unreasonable  as  to 
think  that  the  earth  should  be  forsaken  for  us,  and 
the  rock  removed  out  of  its  place. 

5.  Yea,  the  light  of  the  wicked  shall  be 
put  out,  and  the  spark  of  his  fire  shall  not 
shine.  6.  The  light  shall  be  dark  in  his 
tabernacle,  and  his  candle  shall  be  put  out 
with  him.  7.  The  steps  of  his  strength 
shall  be  straitened,  and  his  own  counsel 
shall  cast  him  down.  8.  For  he  is  cast  into 
a  net  by  his  own  feet,  and  he  walketh  upon 
a  snare.  9.  The  gin  shall  take  him  by  the 
heel,  and  the  robber  shall  prevail  against 
him.  10.  The  snare  is  laid  for  him  in  the 
ground,  and  a  trap  for  him  in  the  way. 

The  rest  of  Bildad's  discourse  is  entirely  taken 
up  in  an  elegant  description  of  the  miserable  condi- 
tion of  a  wicked  man,  in  which  there  is  a  great 
deal  of  certain  truth,  and  which  will  be  of  excellent 
use,  if  duly  considered,  that  a  sinful  condition  is  a 
sad  condition,  and  that  iniquity  will  be  men's  ruin, 
if  they  do  not  repent  of  it.  But,  1.  It  is  not  true 
that  all  wicked  people  are  visibly  and  openly  made 
thus  miserable  in  this  world;  nor,  2.  1  hat  all  who 
are  brought  into  great  distress  and  trouble  in  this 
world,  are  therefore  to  be  deemed  and  adjudged 
wicked  men,  though  no  other  proof  njipears  against 
them ;  and  therefore,  though  Bildad  thought  the  ap- 
plication of  it  to  Job  was  easy,  yet  it  was  not  safe 
nor  just.     In  these  verses  we  have, 

(1.)  The  destruction  of  the  wicked  foreseen  and 
foretold,  underthe  similitude  of  darkness;  (t.  5,  6.) 
Yea,  the  light  of  the  wicked  shall  be  put  out.  E'  en 
his  light,  the  best  and  brightest  part  of  him,  shall 
be  put  out;  even  that  which  he  rejoiced  in,  shall 
fail  him.  Or,  the  yea  may  refer  to  Job's  complaints 
of  the  great  distress  he  was  in,  and  the  darkness  he 
should  shortly  make  his  bed  in.  "Yea,"  says  Bil- 
dad, "so  it  is,  thou  art  clouded,  and  straitened,  and 
made  miserable,  and  no  better  could  be  expected; 
for  the  light  of  the  wicked  shall  be  put  out,  and 
therefore  thine  shall."  Observe  here,  [1.]  The 
wicked  may  have  some  light  for  a  while,  some 
pleasure,  some  joy,  some  hope,  within,  as  well  as 
wealth,  and  honour,  and  power,  without.  But  his 
light  is  but  a  spark,  {v.  5.)  a  little  thing,  and  soon 
extinguished.  It  is  but  a  candle,  {v.  6.)  wasting 
and  burning  down,  and  easily  blown  out.  It  is  not 
the  light  of  the  Lord,  (that  is,  sun-light,)  but  the 
light  of  his  own  fire,  and  sparks  of  his  own  kindling, 
Isa.  1.  11.  [2.']  Light  will  certainly  be  put  out  at 
!  length,  quite  put  out,  so  that  not  the  least  spark  of 


it  shall  remain,  with  which  to  kindle  another  tire. 
Even  while  he  is  in  his  tabernacle,  while  he  is  in  the 
body,  which  is  the  tabernacle  of  the  soul,  (2  Cor.  v. 
1.)  the  light  shall  be  dark,  he  shall  have  no  true 
solid  comfort,  no  joy  that  is  satisfying,  no  hope  that 
IS  supporting;  even  the  light  that  is  in  him  is 
darkness;  and  how  great  is  that  darkness.'  But, 
when  he  is  put  out  of  this  tabernacle  by  death,  his 
candle  shall  be  fiut  out  with  him.  The  period  of 
his  life  will  be  the  final  period  of  all  his  days,  and 
will  turn  all  his  hopes  into  endless  despair.  Jt'hen 
a  wicked  man  dies,  his  exjiectation  shall  perish, 
Prov.  xi.  7.     He  shall  lie  down  in  sorrow. 

(2. )  The  preparatives  for  that  destruction  repre- 
sented under  the  similitude  of  a  beast  or  bird  caught 
in  a  snare,  or  a  malefactor  arrested  and  taken  into 
custody,,  in  oider  to  his  punishment,  v.  7 •  -lO. 

[1.]  Sitan  is  prep  iiing  for  his  destruction.  He 
is  the  robber  that  shall  fir ev ail  against  him;  {y.  9.) 
for  as  he  was  a  murderer,  so  he  was  a  robber,  from 
the  beginning.  He,  as  the  tempter,  lays  snares  for 
sinners  in  the  way,  wherever  they  go,  and  he  shall 
prevail.  If  he  make  them  sinful  like  himself,  he 
will  make  them  miserable  like  himself.  He  hunts 
for  the  firecioiis  life. 

[2.  ]  He  is  himself  preparing  for  his  own  destruc- 
tion, by  going  on  in  sin,  and  so  treasuring  ufi  wrath 
against  the  day  of  wrath.  God  gives  him  up,  as  he 
deserves  and  desires,  to  his  own  counsels,  and  then 
his  own  counsels  cast  him  down,  v.  7.  His  sinful 
projects  and  pursuits  bring  him  into  mischief.  He 
IS  cast  into  a  net  by  his  own  feet,  (i;.  8.)  runs  upon 
his  own  destruction,  is  snared  in  the  work  of  hia 
own  hands,  (Ps.  ix.  16.)  his  own  tongue  falls  upon 
him,  Ps.  Ixiv.  8.  In  the  transgression  of  an  evil 
man  there  is  a  snare. 

[3.  ]  God  is  preparing  for  his  destruction.  The 
sinner  by  his  sin  is  preparing  the  fuel,  and  then  God 
by  his  wrath  is  preparing  the  fire.  See  here,  First, 
How  the  sinner  is  infatuated,  to  run  himself  into  the 
snare;  whom  God  will  destroy,  he  infatuates.  Se- 
condly, How  he  is  embarrassed;  the  steps  of  his 
strength,  his  mighty  designs  and  efforts,  shall  be 
straitened,  so  that  he  shall  not  compass  what  he 
intended;  and  the  more  he  strives  to  extricate  him- 
self, the  more  will  he  be  entangled.  Evil  men  wax 
worse  and  worse.  Thirdly,  How  he  is  secured  and 
kept  from  outrunning  the  judgments  of  God  that 
are  in  pursuit  of  him;  the  gin  shall  take  him  by  the 
heel.  He  can  no  more  escape  the  divine  wrath  that 
is  in  pursuit  of  him,  than  a  man,  so  held,  can  flee 
from  the  pursuer.  God  knows  how  to  reserve  the 
wicked  for  the  day  of  judgment,  2  Pet.  ii.  9. 

1 1 .  Terrors  shall  make  him  afraid  on 
every  side,  and  shall  drive  him  to  his  feet. 

12,  His  strength  shall  be  hunger-bitten, 
and  destruction  shall  he  ready  at  his  side. 

1 3,  It  shall  devour  the  strength  of  his  skin  : 
even  the  first-born  of  death  shall  devour  his 
strength.  14.  His  confidence  shall  be  root- 
ed out  of  his  tabernacle  ;  and  it  shall  bring 
him  to  the  king  of  terrors.  15,  It  shall 
dwell  in  his  tabernacle,  because  it  is  none 
of  his :  brimstone  shall  be  scattered  upon  his 
habitation.  16.  His  roots  shall  be  dried  up 
beneath,  and  above  shall  his  branch  be  cut 
off,  17.  His  remembrance  shall  perish 
from  the  earth,  and  he  shall  have  no  name 
in  the  street.  18.  He  shall  be  driven  from 
light  into  darkness,  and  chased  out  of  the 
vvoild.     1 9,  He  shall  neither  have  son  nor 

Vol.  III.— M 


JOB,  XVIIl.  89 

nephew  among  his  people,  nor  any  remain- 
ing in  his  dwellings.  20.  They  that  conH; 
after  him  shall  be  astonished  at  his  day,  as 
tliey  that  went  before  were  affrighted.  21 
Surely  such  are  the  dwellings  of  the  wicked, 
and  this  is  the  place  of  him  that  knoweth 
not  God. 


Bildad  here  describes  the  destruction  itself  which 
wicked  people  are  reserved  for  in  the  other  world, 
and  which,  in  some  degree,  often  seizes  them  in 
this  world.  Come,  and  see  what  a  miserable  con- 
dition the  sinner  is  in,  when  his  day  comes  to  fall. 

I.  See  him  disheartened  and  weakened  by  conti- 
nual terrors,  arising  from  the  sense  of  his  own  guilt 
and  the  dread  of  God's  wrath;  (f.  11,  12.)  Terror 
.shall  7nake  him  afraid  07i  every  side:  the  terrors  of 
his  own  conscience  shall  haunt  him,  so  that  he  shall 
never  be  easy;  wherever  he  goes,  these  shall  follow 
him,  which  way  soever  he  looks,  these  shall  stare 
him  in  the  face.  It  will  make  him  tremble  to  see 
himself  fought  against  by  the  whole  creation,  to  see 
Heaven  frowning  on  him,  hell  gaping  for  him,  and 
earth  sick  of  him.  He  that  carries  his  own  accuser, 
and  his  own  tormentors,  always  in  his  bosom,  can- 
not but  be  afraid  on  every  side.  This  will  drive 
him  to  his  feet,  like  the  malefactor,  who,  being  con- 
scious of  his  guilt,  flees  when  none  pursues,  rxow 
xxviii.  1.  But  his  feet  will  do  him  no  service,  they 
are  fast  in  the  snare,  v.  9.  The  sinner  may  as  soon 
overpower  the  divine  omnipotence,  as  overrun  the 
divine  omniscience,  Amos  ix.  2,  3. 

No  marvel  that  the  sinner  is  dispirited,  and  dis- 
tracted with  fear,  for,  1.  He  sees  his  ruin  ap- 
proaching; destruction  shall  be  ready  at  his  side,  to 
seize  him  whenever  justice  gives  the  word,  so  that 
he  is  brought  into  desolation  in  a  moment,  Ps.  Ixxiii. 
19.  2.  He  feels  himself  utterly  unable  to  grapple 
with  it,  either  to  escape  it,  or  to  bear  up  under  it. 
That  which  he  relied  upon  as  his  strength,  (his 
wealth,  power,  pomp,  friends,  and  the  hardiness 
of  his  own  spirit,)  shall  fail  him  in  the  time  of  need, 
and  be  hungei--bitten,  that  is,  it  shall  do  him  no 
more  service  than  a  famished  man,  pining  away  for 
hunger,  would  do  in  work  or  war.  The  case  being 
thus  with  him,  no  marvel  that  he  is  a  terror  to  him- 
self. Note,  The  way  of  sin  is  a  way  of  fear,  and 
leads  to  everlasting  confusion,  of  which  the  present 
teri'ors  of  an  imjjure  and  unpacified  conscience  are 
earnests,  as  they  were  to  Cain  and  Judas. 

II.  See  him  devoured  and  swallowed  up  by  a 
miserable  death;  and  miserable  indeed  a  wicked 
man's  death  is,  how  secure  and  jovial  soever  his 
life  was. 

1.  See  him  dying,  arrested  by  the  first  bom  of 
death,  some  disease,  or  some  stroke  that  has  in  it 
a  more  than  ordinary  resemblance  of  death  itself; 
so  great  a  death,  as  it  is  called,  (2  Cor.  i.  10.)  a 
messenger  of  death,  that  has  in  it  an  uncommon 
strength  and  terror:  the  harbingers  of  death  rferour 
the  strength  of  his  skin,  they  bring  rottenness  into 
his  bones,  and  consume  them.  His  confidence  shall 
then  be  rooted  out  of  his  tabernacle;  {x>.  14.)  that  is, 
all  that  he  trusts  to,  for  his  support,  shall  be  taken 
from  him,  and  he  shall  have  nothing  to  rely  upon, 
no  not  his  own  tabernacle.  His  own  soul  was  his 
confidence,  but  that  shall  be  rooted  out  of  the  ta- 
bernacle of  the  body,  as  a  tree  that  cumbered  the 
ground.     Thy  soul  shall  be  required  of  thee. 

2.  See  him  dead,  and  see  his  case  then  with  an 
eye  of  faith.  (1.)  He  is  then  brought  to  the  king 
of  terrors.  He  was  surrounded  with  terrors  while 
he  lived,  (x'.  11.)  and  death  was  the  king  of  all 
those  terrors;  they  fought  against  the  sinner  in 
death's  name,  for  it  is  by  reason  of  death  that  sin- 


90 


JOB,  XIX. 


ners  are,  all  their  lifetime,  subject  to  bondage,  (Heb. 
ii.  15. )  and,  at  length,  they  will  be  brought  to  that 
which  they  so  long  feared,  as  a  captive  to  the  con- 
queror. Death  is  terrible  to  nature;  our  Saviour 
himself  prayed,  Father,  save  me  from  this  hour; 
but  to  the  wicked  it  is,  in  a  special  manner,  the  king- 
of  terrors,  both  as  it  is  a  period  to  that  life  in  which 
they  placed  their  happiness,  and  a  passage  to  that 
life  where  they  will  find  their  endless  misery.  How 
happy  then  are  the  saints,  and  how  much  indebted 
to  the  Lord  Jesus,  by  whom  death  is  so  far  abolish- 
ed, and  the  pi'operty  of  it  altered,  that  this  king  of 
terrors  is  become  a  friend  and  servant!  (2.)  He  is 
then  driven  from  light  into  darkness;  (y.  18.)  from 
the  light  of  this  world,  and  his  prosperous  condition 
in  it,  into  darkness,  the  darkness  of  the  grave,  the 
darkness  of  hell,  into  utter  darkness,  never  to  see 
light,  (Ps.  xlix.  19.)  not  the  least  gleam,  nor  any 
hopes  of  it.  (3. )  He  is  then  chased  out  of  the  world, 
hurried  and  dragged  away  by  the  messengers  of 
death,  sore  against  his  will;  chased  as  Adam  out  of 
paradise,  for  the  world  is  his  paradise.  It  intimates 
that  he  would  fain  stay  here,  he  is  loath  to  depart, 
but  go  he  must;  all  the  world  is  weary  of  him,  and 
therefore  chases  him  out,  as  glad  to  be  rid  of  him. 
This  is  death  to  a  wicked  man. 

III.  See  his  family  sunk  and  cut  off,  v.  15.  The 
wrath  and  curse  of  God  light  and  lie,  not  only  upon 
his  head  and  heart,  but  upon  his  house  too,  to  con- 
sume it,  with  the  timber  and  atones  thereof,  Zech. 
v.  4.  Death  itself  shall  dwell  in  his  tabernacle,  and, 
having  expelled  him,  shall  take  possession  of  his 
house,  to  the  terror  and  destruction  of  all  that  he 
leaves  behind;  even  the  dwelling  shall  be  ruined 
for  the  sake  of  its  owner,  brimstone  shall  be  scat- 
tered ufion  his  habitation,  rained  upon  it  as  upon 
Sodom,  to  the  destruction  of  which  this  seems  to 
have  reference.  Some  think  he  here  upbraids  Job 
with  the  burning  of  his  sheep  and  servants  with  fire 
from  heaven.  The  reason  is  here  given  why  his 
tabernacle  is  thus  marked  for  ruin,  because  it  is 
none  of  his;  that  is,  it  was  unjustly  got,  and  kept 
from  the  rightful  owner,  and  therefore  let  him  not 
pr;pect  either  the  comfort  or  the  continuance  of  it. 

His  children  shall  perish,  either  with  him  or  after 
him,  V.  16.  So  that  his  roots  being  in  his  own  person 
dried  up.  beneath,  above,  his  branch,  every  child  of 
his  family,  shall  be  cut  off.  Thus  the  houses  of  Jero- 
boam, Baasha,  and  Ahab  were  cut  off;  none  that  de- 
scended from  them  were  left  alive.  They  who  take 
root  in  the  earth,  may  expect  it  will  thus  be  dried 
up;  but  if  we  be  rooted  in  Christ,  even  our  leaf  shall 
not  wither,  much  less  shall  our  branch  be  cut  off. 
Those  who  consult  the  true  honour  of  their  family, 
and  the  welfare  of  its  branches,  will  be  afraid  of 
withering  it  by  sin.  The  extirpation  of  the  sinner's 
family  is  mentioned  again ;  (y.  19. )  He  shall  nei- 
ther have  son  nor  nefihenv,  child  nor  grandchild,  to 
enjoy  his  estate,  and  bear  up  his  name,  nor  shall 
there  be  any  remaining  in  his  dwelling  akin  to  him. 
Sin  entails  a  curse  upon  posterity,  and  the  iniquity 
of  the  fathers  is  often  visited  upon  the  children. 
Herein,  also,  it  is  probable  that  Bildad  reflects  upon 
the  death  of  Job's  children  and  servants,  as  a  fur- 
ther proof  of  his  being  a  wicked  man;  whereas  all 
that  are  written  childless,  are  not  thereby  written 
graceless;  there  is  a  name  better  than  that  of  sons 
and  daughters. 

IV.  See  his  memory  buried  with  him,  or  made 
odious;  he  shall  either  be  forgotten  or  spoken  of 
with  dishonour;  {v.  17.)  His  remembrance  shall 
tierish  from  the  earth;  and  if  it  perish  from  thence, 
it  perishes  wholly,  for  it  was  never  written  in  hea- 
ven, as  the  names  of  the  saints  are,  Luke  x.  20. 
^11  his  honour  shall  he  laid  and  lost  in  the  dust,  or 
stVmed  with  perpetual  infamv,  so  that  hesh  '11  have 
no  name  in  the  street,  departing  without  being  de- 


sired. Thus  the  judgments  of  God  follow  him,  af- 
ter death,  in  this  world,  as  an  indication  of  the 
misery  his  soul  is  in  after  death,  and  an  earnest  of 
that  everlasting  shame  and  contempt  to  which  he 
shall  rise  in  the  great  day.  The  memory  of  the 
just  is  blessed,  but  the  name  of  the  wicked  shall  rot, 
rrov.  X.  7. 

V.  See  a  universal  amazement  at  his  fall,  v,  20. 
They  that  see  it  are  affrighted,  so  sudden  is  the 
change,  so  dreadful  the  execution,  so  threatening 
to  all  about  him;  and  they  that  come  after,  and 
hear  the  report  of  it,  are  astonished  at  it;  their  ears 
are  made  to  tingle,  and  their  hearts  to  tremble,  and 
they  cry  out,  J^ord,  how  terrible  art  thou  in  thy 
judgments!  A  place  or  person,  utterly  ruined,  is 
said  to  be  made  an  astonishment,  Deut.  xxviii.  37. 
2  Chron.  vii.  21.  Jer.  xxv.  9,  18.  Horrible  sins 
bring  strange  punishments. 

Lastly,  See  all  this  averred  as  the  unanimous 
sense  of  the  patriarchal  age,  grounded  upon  their 
knowledge? of  God,  and  their  many  observations  of 
his  providence;  {v.  21.)  Surely  such  are  the  dwel- 
lings of  the  wicked,  and  this  is  the  place,  this  the 
condition,  of  him  that  knows  not  God!  See  here 
what  is  the  beginning,  and  what  is  the  end,  of  the 
wickedness  of  this  wicked  world.  1.  The  beginning 
of  it  is  ignorance  of  God,  and  it  is  a  wilful  ignorance, 
for  there  is  that  to  be  known  of  him  which  is  suffi- 
cient to  leave  them  for  ever  inexcusable.  They 
know  not  God,  and  then  they  commit  all  sin;  Pha- 
raoh knows  not  the  Lord,  and  therefore  will  net 
obey  his  voice.  2.  The  end  of  it,  and  that  is  utter 
destruction.  Such,  so  miserable,  are  the  dwellings 
of  the  wicked.  Vengeance  will  be  taken  of  those 
that  know  not  God,  2  Thess.  i.  8.  For  those  whom 
he  has  not  honour  from,  he  will  get  him  honour 
upon.  Let  us  therefore  stand  in  awe  and  not  sin, 
for  it  will  certainly  be  bitterness  in  the  latter  end. 

CHAP.  XIX.  " 

This  chapter  is  Job's  answer  to  Bildad's  discourse  in  the 
foregoing  chapter.  Though  his  spirit  was  grieved  and 
much  heated,  and  Bildad  was  very  peevish,  3  et  he  gave 
him  leave  to  say  all  he  designed  to  say,  and  did  not  break 
in  upon  him  in  the  midst  of  his  argument;  but,  when  he 
had  done,  he  gave  him  a  fair  answer;  in  which,  I.  He 
complains  of  unkind  usage.  And  very  unkindly  he 
takes  it,  1.  That  his  comforters  added  to  his  alHiction, 
v.  2. .  7.  2.  That  his  God  was  the  Author  of  his  afflic- 
tion, v.  8 . .  12.  3.  That  his  relations  and  friends  were 
strange  to  him,  and  shy  of  him,  in  his  affliction,  v.  13  . .  19. 
4.  That  he  had  no  compassion  shown  him  in  his  affliction, 
V.  20..  22.  II.  He  comforts  himself  with  the  believing 
hopes  of  happiness  in  the  other  world,  though  he  had  so 
little  comfort  in  this,  making  a  very  solemn  confession 
of  his  faith,  with  a  desire  that  it  might  be  recorded  as  an 
evidence  of  his  sincerity,  v.  23  . .  27.  HI.  He  concludes 
with  a  caution  to  his  friends  not  to  persist  in  their  hard 
censures  of  him,  v.  28,  29.  If  the  remonstrance  Job 
here  makes  of  his  grievances  may  serve  sometimes  to 
justify  our  complaints,  yet  his  cheerful  views  of  the  fu- 
ture state,  at  the  same  time,  may  shame  us  Christians, 
and  may  serve  to  silence  our  complaints,  or,  at  least,  to 
balance  them. 

1 .  f  I  "^HEN  Job  answered  and  said,  2. 
JL  How  long  will  ye  vex  my  soul,  and 
break  me  in  pieces  with  words  ?  3.  These 
ten  times  have  ye  reproached  me :  you  are 
not  ashamed  that  you  make  yourselves 
strange  to  me.  4.  And  be  it  indeed  that  1 
have  erred,  mine  error  remaineth  with  my- 
self. 5.  If  indeed  ye  will  mn^mfy  i/07irselves 
against  me,  and  plead  against  me  my  re- 
proach ;  6.  Know  now  that  God  hath 
overthrown  me,  and  hath  compassed  me 
with  his  net.    7.  Behold,  I  cry  out  of  wrong, 


JOB,  XIX. 


but  I  am  not  heard:  I  cry  aloud,  but  there 
is  no  judgment. 

Job's  friends  had  passed  a  very  severe  censure 
upon  him  as  a  wicked  man,  because  he  was  so 
gi'ie\oiisly  afliicted;  now  here  he  tells  them  how 
ill  he  took  it  to  be  so  censured.  Bildad  had  twice 
begun  with  a  How  long;  {ch.  xviii.  2.)  and  there- 
fore Job,  being  now  to  answer  him  particularly,  be- 
guis  with  a  Honv  long  too,  v,  2.  What  is  not  liked, 
is  commonly  thought  long;  but  Job  had  more  reason 
to  think  tliem  long  who  assaulted  him,  than  they 
had  to  think  him  long,  who  only  vindicated  himself. 
Better  cause  may  be  shown  for  defending  ourselves, 
if  we  have  right  on  our  side,  than  for  offending  our 
bretliren,  though  we  have  right  on  our  side.  Now 
observe  here, 

I.  How  he  describes  their  unkindness  to  him,  and 
what  account  he  gives  of  it.  1.  They  vexed  his 
soul,  and  that  is  more  grievous  than  tlie  vexation  of 
the  bones,  Ps.  \  i.  2,  3.  They  were  his  friends,  they 
came  to  comfort  him,  pretended  to  counsel  him  for 
the  best;  but,  with  a  great  deal  of  gravity,  and  af- 
fectation of  wisdom  and  piety,  they  set  themselves 
to  rob  him  of  the  only  comfort  he  had  now  left  him 
in  a  good  God,  a  good  conscience,  and  a  good  name; 
and  this  vexed  him  to  the  heart.  2.  I'liey  drake 
him  in  fiieces  with  words,  and  those  were  surely 
hard  and  very  cruel  words  that  would  break  a  man 
to  pieces:  they  grieved  him,  and  so  brake  him;  and 
therefore  there  will  be  a  reckoning  hereafter  for 
all  the  hard  speeches  spoken  against  Christ  and  his 
people,  Jude  15.  3.  They  reproached  him,  {v.  3.) 
gave  him  a  bad  character,  and  laid  to  his  charge 
tilings  that  he  knew  not.  To  an  ingenuous  mind 
reproach  is  a  cutting  thing.  4.  They  made  them- 
selves strange  to  him,  were  shy  of  him,  now  that  he 
was  in  his  troubles;  they  did  not  know  him,  {ch.  ii. 
12.)  were  not  free  with  him,  as  they  used  to  be 
when  he  was  in  his  prosperity.  Those  are  govern- 
ed by  the  spirit  of  the  world,  and  not  by  any  princi- 
ples of  true  honour  or  love,  who  make  themselves 
strange  to  their  friends,  or  God's  friends,  when  they 
are  in  trouble:  a  friend  loves  at  all  times.  5.  They 
not  only  estranged  themselves  from  him,  but  mag- 
nijied  themselves  against  him;  {y.  5.)  not  only 
looked  shy  of  him,  but  looked  big  upon  him,  and 
insulted  over  him,  magnifying  themselves,  to  de- 
press him.  It  is  a  mean  thing,  it  is  a  base  thing, 
thus  to  trample  upon  those  that  are  down.  6.  They 
fileaded  against  him  his  reproach,  that  is,  they  made 
use  of  his  affliction  as  an  argument  against  him  to 
prove  him  a  wicked  man.  They  should  have  plead- 
ed for  him  his  integrity,  and  helped  him  to  take  the 
comfort  of  that  under  his  affliction,  and  so  have 
pleaded  that  against  his  reproach,  as  St.  Paul; 
(2  Cor.  i.  12. )  but,  instead  of  that,  they  pleaded  his 
reproach  against  his  integrity,  which  was  not  only 
unkind,  but  very  unjust;  for  where  shall  we  find  an 
nonest  man,  if  reproach  may  be  admitted  for  a  plea 
against  him? 

II.  How  he  aggravates  their  unkindness.  1.  They 
Had  thus  abused  him  often;  {v.  3.)  These  ten  times 
ye  have  reproached  me,  that  is,  very  often,  as  Gen. 
xxxi.  7.  Numb.  xiv.  22.  Five  times  they  had 
spoken,  and  eveiy  speech  was  a  double  reproach. 
He  spake  as  if  he  had  kept  a  particular  account  of 
their  reproaches,  and  could  tell  just  how  many  they 
were:  it  is  but  a  peevish  and  unfriendly  thing  to  do 
so,  and  looks  like  a  design  of  retaliation  and  revenge: 
we  better  befriend  our  own  peace  by  forgetting  in- 
juries and  unkindnesses,  than  by  remembering  them 
and  scoring  them  up.  2.  They  continued  still  to  do 
it,  and  seemed  resolved  to  persist  in  it;  "How  long 
will  ye  do  it ?"  v.  2,  5.  "I  see  you  will  magnify 
yourselves  against  me,  notwithstanding  all  I  have 
said  in  mine  own  justification. "    Those  that  speak 


91 

too  much,  seldom  tnink  they  have  said  enough; 
and,  when  the  mouth  is  opened  in  passion,  the  ear 
IS  shut  to  reason.  3.  Tliey  were  not  ashamed  of 
what  they  did,  v.  3.  They  had  reason  to  be  ashamed 
of  their  hard-heaitedness,  so  ill  becoming  men,  and 
their  uncharitableness,  so  ill  becoming  good  men,  and 
their  deceitfulness,  so  ill  becoming  friends;  but  were 
they  ashamed?  No,  though  they  were  told  of  it  again 
and  again,  yet  they  could  not  blush. 

III.  How  he  answers  their  harsh  censures,  by 
showing  them  that  what  they  condemned  was  capa- 
ble of  excuse,  which  they  ought  to  have  considered. 

1.  The  errorsof  his  judgment  were  excusable;  {v. 
4. )  "Beit  indeed  that  I  have  erred,  that  I  am  in  the 
wrong  through  ignorance  or  mistake,"  which  may 
well  be  supposed  concerning  men,  concerning  good 
men;  Humanum  est  'errare — Error  cleaves  to  hu- 
manity; and  we  must  be  willing  to  suppose  it  con- 
cerning ourseh  es.  It  is  folly  to  think  ourselves  in- 
fallible. "  But  be  it  so,"  said  Job,  '•  mine  error  re- 
maineth  with  myself,"  that  is,  "1  speak  according 
to  the  best  of  my  judgment,  with  all  sincerity,  and 
not  from  a  spirit  of  contradiction."  Or,  "If  I  be 
in  an  error,  I  keep  it  to  myself,  and  do  not  impose 
it  upon  others  as  you  do.  I  only  prove  myself  and 
my  own  work  by  it,  I  meddle  not  with  other  people, 
either  to  teach  them  or  to  judge  them."  Men's 
errors  are  the  more  excusable,  if  they  keep  them 
to  themselves,  and  do  not  disturb  others  with  them. 
Hast  thou  faith?  Have  it  to  thyself.  Some  give  this 
sense  of  these  words;  "If  I  be  in  an  error,  it  is  I 
that  must  smart  for  it;  and  therefore  you  need  not 
concern  yourselves;  nay,  it  is  I  that  do  smart,  and 
smart  severely,  for  it;  and  therefore  you  need  not 
add  to  my  misery  by  your  reproaches." 

2.  The  breakings  out  of  his  passion,  though  net 
justifiable,  yet  were  excusable,  considering  the  vast- 
ness  of  his  grief,  and  the  extremity  of  his  misery. 
"It  you  will  go  on  to  cavil  at  every  complaining 
word  I  speak,  will  make  the  worst  of  it,  and  im- 
prove it  against  me,  yet  take  the  cause  of  the  com- 
plaint along  with  you,  and  weigh  that,  before  you 
pass  a  judgment  upon  the  complaint,  and  turn  it  to 
my  reproach:  know  then  that  God  has  overcome 
me."  v.  6.  Three  things  he  would  have  them  con- 
sider, (1.)  That  his  trouble  was  very  great.  He 
was  overthrown,  and  could  not  help  himself,  en- 
closed as  in  a  net,  and  could  not  get  out.  (2. )  That 
God  was  the  Author  of  it,  and  that  in  it  he  fought 
against  him:  "  It  was  his  hand  that  overthrew  me, 
it  is  in  his  net  that  I  am  enclosed;  and  therefore  ycu 
need  not  appear  against  me  thus;  I  have  enough  to 
do  to  grapple  with  God's  displeasure,  let  me  not 
have  yours  also.  Let  God's  controversy  with  me 
be  ended,  before  you  begin  yours."  It  is  barbarous 
to  persecute  him  whom  God  hath  smitten,  and  to 
talk  to  the  grief  of  one  whom  he  hath  wounded,  Ps. 
Ixix.  26.  (3. )  That  he  could  not  obtain  any  hope 
of  the  redress  of  his  grievances,  v.  7.  He  com- 
plained of  his  pain,  but  got  no  ease;  begged  to  know 
the  cause  of  his  afflictions,  but  could  not  discover  it; 
appealed  to  God's  tribunal  for  the  clearing  of  his 
innocency,  but  could  not  obtain  a  hearing,  much 
less  a  judgment,  upon  his  appfeal ;  I  cry  out  of  wrong, 
but  I  am  not  heard.  God,  for  a  time,  may  seem  to 
turn  away  his  ear  from  his  people,  to  be  angry  at 
their  prayers,  and  overlook  their  appeals  to  him, 
and  they  must  be  excused  if,  in  that  case,  they  com- 
plain bitterly.     Woe  unto  us  if  God  be  against  us! 

8.  He  hath  fenced  up  my  way  that  I  can- 
not pass,  and  he  hath  set  darkness  in  my 
paths.  9.  He  hath  stripped  me  of  my  glory, 
and  taken  the  crown  from  my  head.  1 0. 
He  hath  destroyed  me  on  every  side,  and  1 
am  gone:  and  mv  hope  hath  he  removed 


92 


JOB,  XIX. 


like  a  tree.  11.  He  hath  also  khidled  his 
wrath  against  me,  and  lie  counteth  me  unto 
him  as  one  of  his  enemies.  1 2.  His  troops 
come  together,  and  raise  up  their  way 
against  me,  and  encamp  round  about  my 
tabernacle.  1 3.  He  hath  put  my  brethren 
far  from  me,  and  mine  acquaintance  are 
verily  estranged  from  me.  1 4.  iVJy  kinsfolk 
have  failed,  and  my  familiar  friends  have 
foi  gotten  me.  15.  They  that  dwell  in  my 
house,  and  my  maids,  count  me  for  a  stran- 
ger: I  am  an  alien  in  their  sight.  16.  I 
called  my  servant,  and  he  gave  me  no  an- 
swer: I  entreated  him  with  my  mouth.  17. 
My  breath  is  strange  to  my  wife,  though  I 
enti-eated  for  the  children's  sake  of  mine  own 
body.  18.  Yea,  young  children  despised 
me;  I  arose,  and  they  spake  against  me. 
1 9.  All  my  inward  friends  abhorred  me : 
and  they  whom  I  loved  are  turned  against 
me.  20.  My  bone  cleaveth  to  my  skin  and 
to  my  flesh,  and  I  am  escaped  with  the  skin 
of  my  teeth.  21.  Have  pity  upon  me,  have 
pity  upon  me,  O  ye  my  friends;  for  the 
hand  of  God  hath  touched  me.  22.  Why 
do  ye  persecute  me  as  God,  and  are  not 
satisfied  with  my  flesh  ? 

Bildad  had  very  disingenuously  perverted  Job's 
complaints,  by  making  them  the  description  of  the 
miserable  condition  of  a  wicked  man;  and  yet  lie 
repeats  them  here,  to  move  their  pity,  and  to  work 
upon  their  good  nature,  if  they  had  any  left  in  them. 

I.  He  complains  of  the  tokens  of  God's  displeasure 
which  he  was  under,  and  which  infused  the  worm- 
wood and  gall  into  the  affliction  and  misery.  How 
doleful  are  the  accents  of  his  complaints;  {v.  11.) 
"  He  hath  kindled  his  wrath  against  me,  which 
flames  and  terrifies  me,  which  burns  and  pains  me. " 
What  is  the  fire  of  hell  but  the  wrath  of  God?  Sear- 
ed consciences  will  feel  it  hereafter,  but  do  not  fear 
it  now.  Enlightened  consciences  fear  it  now,  but 
shall  not  feel  it  hereafter.  Job's  present  apprehen- 
sion was,  that  God  counted  him  as  one  of  his  ene- 
mies; and  yet,  at  the  same  time,  God  lo\'ed  him, 
and  gloried  in  him,  as  his  faithful  friend.  It  is  a 
gross  mistake,  but  a  very  common  one,  to  think 
that  whom  God  afflicts,  he  treats  as  his  enemies; 
whereas,  on  the  contrary,  as  many  as  he  loves,  he 
rebukes  arid  chastens;  it  is  the  discipline  of  his  sons. 

Which  way  soever  Job  looked,  he  thought  he  saw 
the  tokens  of  God's  displeasure  against  him. 

1.  Did  he  look  back  upon  his  former  prosperity? 
He  saw  God's  hand  putting  an  end  to  that;  {v.  9.) 
"  He  has  strifified  me  of  my  glory,  my  wealth, 
honour,  power,  and  all  the  opportunity  I  had  of 
doing  good;  my  children  were  my  glory,  but  I  have 
lost  them ;  and  whatevernvas  a  crown  to  my  head, 
he  has  taken  it  from  me,  and  has  laid  all  mine 
honour  in  the  dust."  See  the  vanity  of  worldly 
glory,  it  is  what  we  may  be  soon  stripped  of;  and 
whatever  strips  us,  we  must  see  and  own  God's 
hand  in  it,  and  comply  with  his  design. 

2.  Did  he  look  down  upon  his  present  troubles? 
He  saw  God  giving  them  their  commission,  and 
their  orders  to  attack  him.  They  are  his  troops, 
that  act  by  his  direction,  which  encamfi  against  me, 
V.  12.  It  did  not  so  much  trouble  him,  that  his 
miseries  came  upon  him  in  troops,  as  that  they 


were  Gcd's  troops,  m  whom  it  seemed  as  if  God 
fouglit  against  him,  and  intended  liis  dtst  iictirn. 
(iod's  troops  encamfied  rAiud  hm  tar.('v:uviv,  .;S 
soldiers  lay  siege  to  a  strong  city,  cutting  i  ff"all  pn  - 
visions  from  being  brought  into  it,  and  battering  it 
continually ;  thus  was  Job's  tabernacle  besieged 
Time  was  when  God's  hosts  encamped  round  him 
for  safety;  Hast  thou  not  made  a  hedge  about  him/ 
Now,  on  the  contrary,  they  surrounded  hin>,  to  his 
terror,  and  destroyed  him  on  every  side,  v.  10. 

3.  Did  he  look  forward  for  deliverance?  He  saw 
the  hand  of  God  cutting  off  all  hopes  of  that;  {v.  8. ) 
*'//(?  hath  fenced  ufi  my  way,  that  I  cannot  fiass; 
I  have  now  no  way  left  to  help  myself,  either  to 
extricate  myself  out  of  my  tn  ubles,  or  to  ease  my- 
self under  them.  Would  I  make  any  motion,  take 
any  steps,  toward  deliverance?  I  find  my  way  hedged 
ufi;  I  cannot  do  what  I  would;  nay,  if  1  would  please 
myself  with  the  prospect  of  a  deli\  erance  herei.fter, 
I  cannot  do  it;  it  is  not  only  out  of  my  reacli,  but 
out  of  my  sight;  God  hath  set  darkness  in  my  paths, 
and  there  is  none  to  tell  me  how  long,"  Ps.  Ixxiv. 
9.  He  concludes;  {y.  10.)  "I  am  gone,  quite  lest 
and  undone  for  this  world;  my  hofxe  hath  he  removed 
like  a  tree,  cut  down,  or  plucked  up  by  the  roots, 
which  will  ne\  er  grow  again."  Hope  in  this  life  is  a 
perishing  thing,  but  the  hope  of  good  men,  when  it 
is  cut  off  from  this  world,  is  but  removed  like  a  tree, 
transplanted  from  this  nursery  to  the  garden  of  the 
Lord.  We  shall  have  no  reason  to  complain,  if 
God  thus  remove  our  hopes  from  the  sand  to  the 
rock,  from  things  temporal  to  things  eternal. 

II.  He  complains  of  the  imkindness  of  his  reh.- 
tions,  and  of  all  his  old  acquaintance.  In  this  also 
he  owns  the  hand  of  God;  {v.  13.)  He  has  put  my 
brethren  far  from  me,  that  is,  "  He  has  laid  those 
afflictions  upon  me,  which  frighten  them  from  me, 
and  make  them  stand  aloof  from  my  sores."  As  it 
was  their  sin,  God  was  not  the  Author  of  it;  it  s 
Satan  that  alienates  men's  minds  from  their  brethren 
in  affliction;  but  as  it  was  Job's  trouble,  (lod  ordered 
it  for  the  completing  of  his  trial.  As  we  must  eye 
the  hand  of  God  in  all  the  injuries  we  recei\  e  from 
our  enemies,  (the  Lord  bade  Shimei  curse  Da\  id,) 
so  also  in  all  the  slights  and  unkindnesses  we  receive 
from  our  friends,  which  will  help  us  to  bear  them 
the  more  patiently.  Every  creature  is  that  to  us, 
(kind  or  unkind,  comfortable  or  uncomfortable,) 
which  God  makes  it  to  be:  yet  this  does  not  excu^e 
Job's  relations  and  friends  from  the  guilt  of  horrid 
ingratitude  and  injustice  to  him,  which  he  had  rea- 
son to  complain  of;  few  could  have  borne  it  so  well 
as  he  did.     He  takes  notice  of  the  unkindness, 

1.  Of  his  kindred  and  acquaintance,  his  neigh- 
bors, and  such  as  he  had  formerly  been  familiar  with, 
who  were  bound  by  all  the  laws  of  friendship  and 
civility  to  concern  themselves  for  him,  to  visit  hint, 
and  inquire  after  him,  and  to  be  ready  to  do  liim  alt 
the  good  offices  that  lay  in  their  power;  yet  these 
were  estranged  from  him,  {v.  13.)  they  took  no 
more  care  about  him  than  if  he  had  been  a  strangei 
whom  they  never  knew.  His  kinsfolk,  who  chiim- 
ed  relation  to  him  when  he  was  in  ])rosperity,  imw 
failed  him;  they  came  short  of  their  former  profts- 
sions  of  friendship  to  him,  and  his  present  exyiec- 
tations  of  kindness  from  them.  Even  his  fimil'ar 
fi'iends,  whom  he  was  mindful  of,  had  now  f  rgotten 
him,  had  forgotten  both  his  former  friendliness  to 
them  and  his  present  miseries:  they  had  heard  of  his 
troubles,  and  designed  him  a  visit;  but  truly  they 
forgot  it,  so  little  affected  were  they  with  it. 

Nay,  his  inward  friends,  the  men  of  his  secret, 
whom  he  was  most  intimate  with,  and  laid  in  his 
bosom,  not  only  forgot  him,  but  abhorred  him,  kept 
as  far  off  him  as  they  could,  because  he  was  poor, 
and  could  not  entertain  them  as  he  used  to  do,  ami 
because  he  was  sore,  and  a  loathsome  spcctpclc 


JOB,  XIX. 


93 


I'hose  whom  he  loved,  and  who  therefore  were 
worse  tlian  publicans  if  they  did  not  love  him  now 
that  he  was  in  distress,  not  only  turned  from  him,  i)ut 
were  turned  against  him,  and  did  all  they  could  to 
make  him  odious,  so  to  justify  themselves  in  being  so 
strange  to  him,  v.  19.  So  uncertain  is  the  friend- 
ship of  men;  but,  if  God  be  our  Friend,  he  will  not 
fail  us  in  a  time  of  need.  But  let  none  that  pretend 
either  to  humanity  or  Christianity,  ever  use  their 
friends  as  Job's  friends  used  him:  adversity  is  the 
proof  of  friendship. 

2.  Of  his  domestics  and  family-relations.  Some- 
times, indeed,  we  find  that,  beyond  our  expectation, 
there  is  a  friend  that  sticks  closer  than  a  brother; 
but,  at  least,  the  master  of  a  family  expects  to  be  at- 
lended  on,  and  taken  care  of,  by  those  of  his  family, 
e\  en  then  when,  through  weakness  of  body  or  mind, 
he  is  become  despicable  to  others.  But  poor  Job  was 
misused  ijy  his  own  family,  and  some  of  his  worst 
foes  were  those  of  his  own  house.  He  mentions  not 
his  childi-en,  they  were  all  dead,  and  we  may  sup- 
pose that  the  unkindness  of  his  surviving  relations 
made  him  lament  the  death  of  his  children  so  much 
the  more:  "If  they  had  been  alive,"  (would  he 
think,)  "I  should  have  had  comfort  in  them."  As 
for  those  that  were  now  about  him, 

(1.)  His  own  servants  slighted  him:  his  maids  did 
not  attend  him  in  his  illness,  but  counted  him  for  a 
stranger  and  an  alien,  v.  15.  His  other  servants 
never  heeded  him;  if  he  called  to  them  they  would 
not  come  at  his  call,  but  pretended  that  they  did 
not  hear  him.  It  he  asked  them  a  question,  they 
would  not  vouchsafe  to  give  him  an  answer,  v.  16. 
Job  had  been  a  good  master  to  them,  and  did  not 
desfiise  their  cause  when  they  fileaded  with  him, 
(ch.  xxxi.  13. )  and  yet  they  were  rude  to  him  now, 
and  despised  his  cause  when  he  pleaded  with  them. 
We  must  not  think  it  strange  if  we  receive  evil  at 
the  hand  of  those  from  whom  we  have  deserved 
well.  Though  he  was  now  sickly,  yet  he  was  not 
cross  with  his  servants,  and  imperious,  as  is  too  com- 
mon, but  he  entreated  his  servants  with  his  mouth, 
when  he  had  authority  to  command:  and  yet  they 
would  not  be  civil  to  him,  neither  kind  nor  just. 
Note,  Those  that  are  sick  and  in  sorrow  are  apt  to 
take  things  ill,  and  be  jealous  of  a  slight,  and  to  lay 
to  heart  the  least  unkindness  done  to  them:  when 
Job  was  in  affliction,  even  his  servants'  neglect  of 
him  troubled  him. 

(2.)  But,  one  would  think,  when  all  forsook  him, 
the  wife  of  his  bosom  should  have  been  tender  of 
him:  no,  because  he  would  not  curse  God  and  die, 
as  she  persuaded  him,  his  breath  was  strange  to  her 
too,  she  did  not  care  for  coming  near  him,  nor  took 
any  notice  of  what  he  said,  v.  17.  Though  he  spake 
to  her,  not  with  the  authority,  but  with  the  tender- 
ness, of  a  husband,  did  not  command,  but  entreated 
her  by  that  conjugal  love  which  their  children  were 
the  pledges  of,  yet  she  regarded  him  not.  Some 
read  it,  '•  Though  I  lamented,  or  bemoaned  my- 
self, for  the  children,"  that  is,  "  for  the  death  of  the 
children  of  my  own  body;"  an  affliction  in  which 
she  was  equally  concerned  with  him.  Now,  it  ap- 
peared, the  Devil  spared  her  to  him,  not  only  to  be 
tiis  tempter,  but  to  be  his  tormentor.  By  what  she 
said  to  him  at  first.  Curse  God  and  die,  it  appeared 
that  she  had  little  religion  in  her;  and  what  can  one 
expect  that  is  kind  and  good  from  those  that  have 
not  the  fear  of  God  before  their  eyes,  and  are  not 
governed  by  conscience? 

(3. )  Even  the  little  children  who  were  born  in  his 
house,  the  children  of  his  own  servants,  who  were 
his  servants  by  birth,  despised  him,  and  spake 
against  him;  (t'.  18.)  though  he  arose  in  civility  to 
speak  friendly  to  them,  or  with  authority  to  check 
them,  they  let  him  know,  that  they  neither  feared 
him,  nor  loved  him. 


III.  He  complams  of  the  decay  of  his  body;  all 
the  beauty  and  strength  of  that  were  gi  nv.  \\  hen 
those  about  him  slighted  him,  if  he  had  been  in 
health,  and  at  ease,  he  might  have  enjoyed  himself. 
But  he  could  take  as  little  pleasure  in  himself  as 
others  took  in  him;  {v.  20.)  il/j/  bone  cleaves  now 
to  my  skin,  as  formerly  it  did  to  my  flesh;  this  was 
it  that  filled  him  with  wrinkles;  {ch.  xvi,  8.)  he  was 
a  perfect  skeleton,  nothing  but  skin  and  bones. 
Nay,  his  skin  too  was  almost  gone,  little  remained 
unbroken  but  the  skin  of  his  teeth,  his  gums,  and 
perhaps  his  lips,  all  the  rest  was  fetched  off  by  his 
sore  boils.  See  what  little  reason  we  ha\  e  to  in- 
dulge the  body,  which,  after  all  our  care,  may  be 
thus  consumed  by  the  diseases  which  it  has  in  itself 
the  seeds  of. 

Lastly,  Upon  all  these  accounts,  he  recommends 
himself  to  the  compassion  of  his  friends,  and  justly 
blames  their  harshness  with  him.  From  tnis  re- 
presentation of  his  deplorable  case,  it  was  easy  to 
infer, 

1,  That  they  ought  to  fiity  him,  v.  21.  This  he 
begs  in  the  most  moving,  melting,  language  that 
could  be,  enough  (one  would  think)  to  break  a  heart 
of  stone:  "  Have  fiity  upon  me,  have  pity  upon  me, 
0  ye  my  friends;  if  ye  will  do  nothing  else  for  me, 
be  sorry  for  me,  and  show  some  concern  for  me; 
have  pity  upon  me,  for  the  hand  of  God  hath  touched 
me;  my  case  is  sad  indeed,  for  I  am  fallen  into 
the  hands  of  the  living  God,  my  spirit  is  touched 
with  the  sense  of  his  wrath,  a  calamity  of  all  other 
the  most  piteous."  Note,  It  becomes  friends  to 
pity  one  another  when  they  are  in  any  trouble,  and 
not  to  shut  up  the  bowels  of  compassion. 

2.  That,  however,  they  ought  not  to  persecute 
him:  if  they  would  not  ease  his  affliction  by  their 
pity,  yet  they  must  not  be  so  barbarous  as  to  add  to 
it  by  their  censures  and  reproaches;  {v.  22.)  ''Why 
do  ye  persecute  me  as  God'^  Surely  his  rebukes  are 
enough  for  one  man  to  bear,  you  need  not  add  your 
wormwood  and  gall  to  the  cup  of  affliction  he  puts 
into  my  hand,  it  is  bitter  enough  without  that:  Gcd 
has  a  sovereign  power  over  me,  and  may  do  what  he 
pleases  with  me;  but  do  you  think  that  you  may  do 
so  too?"  No,  we  must  aim  to  be  like  the  Most 
Holy  and  the  Most  Merciful,  but  not  like  the  Most 
High  and  Most  Mighty.  God  gives  not  account  t  f 
any  of  his  matters,  but  we  must.  If  they  did  de- 
light in  his  calamity,  let  them  be  satisfied  with  his 
flesh,  which  was  wasted  and  gone,  but  let  them  not, 
as  if  that  were  too  little,  wound  his  spirit,  and  ruin 
his  good  name.  Great  tenderness  is  owing  to  those 
that  are  in  affliction,  especially  to  those  that  are 
troubled  in  mind. 

23.  Oh  that  my  words  were  now  written ! 
oh  that  they  were  printed  in  a  book !  24. 
That  they  were  graven  with  an  iron  pen  and 
lead  in  the  rock  for  ever!  25.  For  I  know 
that  my  Redeemer  hveth,  and  that  he  shall 
stand  at  the  latter  dajj  upon  the  earth :  26., 
And  though,  after  my  skin,  irorms  destroy 
this  body,  yet  in  my  flesh  shall  I  see  God : 
27.  Whom  I  shall  see  for  myself,  and  mine 
eyes  shall  behold,  and  not  another ;  tho?/gh 
my  reins  be  consimied  within  me,  28.  But 
ye  should  say,  Why  persecute  we  him  ?  see- 
ing the  root  of  the  matter  is  found  in  me. 
29.  Be  ye  afraid  of  the  sword :  for  wrath 
bringeth  the  punishments  of  the  sword,  that 
ye  may  know  there  is  a  judgment. 

In  all  the  conferences  between  Job  and  his  fnends, 
we  do  not  find  any  more  weighty  and  considerable 


04 


JOB,  XIX. 


lines  than  these;  would  one  have  expected  it?  Here 
is  much  both  of  Christ  and  heaven  in  these  verses: 
and  he  that  said  such  things  as  these,  declared  plain- 
ly that  he  sought  the  better  country;  that  is,  the  hea- 
venly; as  the  patri  trchs  of  that  age  did,  Heb.  xi. 
14.  We  have  here  Job's  creed,  or  confession  of  faith : 
his  belief  in  God  the  Father  Almighty,  the  Maker 
of  heaven  and  earth,  and  the  principles  of  natural 
religion,  he  had  often  professed;  but  here  we  find 
him  no  stranger  to  revealed  religion.  Though  the 
revelation  of  the  Promised  Seed,  and  the  promised 
inheritance,  was  then  discerned  only  like  the  dawn- 
ing of  the  day,  yet  Job  was  taught  of  God  to  believe 
in  a  living  Redeemer,  and  to  look  for  the  resurrec- 
tion of  the  dead,  and  the  life  of  the  world  to  come, 
for  oif  these,  doubtless,  he  miast  be  understood  to 
speak:  these  were  the  things  he  comforted  himself 
with  the  expectation  of,  and  not  a  deliverance  from 
his  trouble,  or  revival  of  his  happiness,  in  this  world, 
as  some  would  understand  him.  For,  beside  that 
the  expressions  he  here  uses,  of  the  Redeemer's 
standing  at  the  latter  day  upon  the  earth,  of  his  see- 
ing God,  and  seeing  him' for  himself  are  wretchedly 
forced,  if  they  be  understood  of  any  temporal  de- 
liverance, it  is  very  plain  that  he  had  no  expectation 
at  all  of  his  return  to  a  prosperous  condition  in  this 
world.  He  had  just  now  said,  that  his  way  ivas 
fenced  up,  {y.  8.)  and  his  hope  removed  like  a  tree, 
V.  10.  IS  ay,  and  after  this,  he  expressed  his  despair 
of  anv  comfort  in  this  life,  ch.  xxiii.  8,  9. — xxx.  23. 
So  that  we  must  necessarily  understand  him  of  the 
redemption  of  his  soul  froni  the  power  of  the  grave, 
and  his  reception  to  glory,  which  is  spoken  of,  Ps. 
xlix.  15.  We  have  reason  to  think  that  Job  was  just 
now  under  an  extraordinary  impulse  of  the  blessed 
Spirit,  which  raised  him  above  himself,  gave  him 
light,  and  gave  him  utterance,  even  to  his  own  sur- 
prise. And  some  observe,  that,  after  this,  we  do 
not  find  in  Job's  discourses  such  passionate,  peevish, 
unbecoming,  complaints  of  God  and  his  providence, 
as  we  have  before  met  with:  this  hope  quieted  his 
spirit,  stilled  the  storm,  and,  having  here  cast  an- 
chor within  the  veil,  his  mind  was  kept  steady  from 
this  time  forward.     Let  us  observe, 

I.  To  what  intent  Job  makes  this  confession  of  his 
faith  here;  never  did  any  thing  come  in  more  per- 
tinently, or  to  better  purpose.  1.  Job  was  now  ac- 
cused, and  this  was  his  appeal.  His  friends  re- 
proached him  as  a  hypocrite,  and  contemned  him  as 
a  wicked  man;  but  he  appeals  to  his  creed,  to  his 
faith,  to  his  hope,  and  to  his  own  conscience;  which 
not  onlv  acquitted  him  from  reigning  sin,  but  com- 
forted him  with  the  expectation  of  a  blessed  resur- 
rection: these  are  not  the  words  of  him  that  has  a 
devil.  He  appeals  to  the  coining  of  the  Redeemer, 
from  this  wrangle  at  the  bar  to  the  judgment  of  the 
bench,  even  to  Him  to  whom  all  judgment  is  com- 
mitted, who,  he  knew,  would  right  him.  The  con- 
sideration of  God's  day  coming,  will  make  it  a.  very 
imall  thing  with  us  to  he  judged  of  man's  judgment, 
1  Cor.  iv.  3,  4.  How  easily  may  we  bear  the  un- 
just calumnies  and  reproaches  of  men,  while  we  ex- 
pect the  glorious  appearance  of  our  Redeemer,  and 
his  redeemed,  at  the  last  day;  and  that  there  will 
then  be  a  resurrection  of  names  as  well  as  bodies! 
2.  Job  was  now  afflicted,  and  this  was  his  cordial; 
when  he  was  pressed  above  measure,  this  kept  him 
from  fainting;  he  believed  that  he  should  see  the 
goodness  of  the  Lord  in  the  land  of  the  living;  not 
in  this  world,  for  that  is  the  land  of  the  dying. 

IT.  With  what  a  solemn  preface  he-introduces  it, 
V.  23,  24.  He  breaks  off  his  complaints  abrnptlv, 
Co  triumph  in  his  comforts;  which  he  does,  not  only 
f->r  his  own  satisfaction,  but  for  the  edification  of 
others.  Those  now  about  him,  he  feared,  would 
little  rogird  what  he  said,  and  so  it  proved;  he 
therefore  wished  it  might  be  recorded  for  the  gene- 


rations to  come.  0  that  my  words  were  now  written 
the  words  I  am  now  about  to  say !  As  if  he  h:'.d  said, 
"1  own  I  ha\  e  spoken  many  un;idvised  words,  which 
I  could  wish  might  be  fcrgotten,  for  they  will  nei- 
ther do  me  credit,  nor  do  others  good.  But  I  air 
now  going  to  speak  deliberately,  and  th.it  whicli  I 
desire  may  be  pul)lished  to  all  the  world,  and  pre- 
served for  the  generations  to  come,  in  perpetuam 
ret  memoriam — for  an  abiding  memorial,  and  tliere- 
fore  that  it  may  be  written  plain,  drawn  out  in  large 
and  legible  characters,  so  that  he  that  runs  may 
read  it;  and  that  it  may  not  be  left  in  loose  papers, 
but  put  into  a  book;  or,  if  that  should  perish,  that 
it  may  be  engraven  like  an  inscription  upon  a  monu- 
ment, with  an  iron  pen,  in  lead,  or  in  the  stone; 
let  the  engraver  use  all  his  art  to  make  it  a  durable 
appeal  to  posterity. "  That  which  Job  here  some- 
what passionately  wished  for,  God  graciously  grant- 
ed him;  his  words  are  written,  they  are  printed  in 
God's  book;  so  that  wherever  that  book  is  read, 
there  shall  this  be  told  for  a  memorial  concerning 
Job,  He  iielieved,  therefore  he  spake. 

III.  What  his  confession  itself  is;  what  are  the 
words  which  he  would  have  to  be  written.  We 
here  have  them  written,  v.  25-  '27.  Let  us  observe 
them. 

1.  He  believes  the  glory  of  the  Redeemer,  and 
his  own  interest  in  him;  (i'.  25.)  /  know  that  my 
Redeemer  liveth;  that  he  is  in  being,  and  is  my 
Life,  and  that  he  shall  stand  at  last,  or  stand  the 
last,  or  at  the  latter  day,  upon  (or  above)  the  earth. 
He  shall  be  raised  up,  or.  He  shall  be  (at  the  latter 
day,  that  is,  in  the  fulness  of  time;  the  gospel-dav 
is  called  the  last  time,  because  that  is  the  last  dis- 
pensation) upon  the  earth :  so  it  points  at  his  incar 
nation;  or.  He  shall  be  lifted  up  from  the  earth;  (so 
it  points  at  his  crucifixion;)  or,  raised  up  out  of  the 
earth;  so  it  is  applicable  to  his  resurrection;  or,  as 
we  commonly  understand  it.  At  the  end  of  time, 
he  shall  appear  over  the  earth,  for  he  shall  come  in 
the  clouds,  and  every  eye  shall  see  liim,  so  close  stall 
he  come  to  this  earth.  He  shall  stand  upon  the 
dust,  so  the  word  is;  upon  all  his  enemies,  which 
shall  be  put  as  dust  under  his  feet;  and  he  shall 
tread  upon  them  and  triumph  over  them. 

Observe  here,  (1. )  That  there  is  a  Redeemer  pro- 
vided for  fallen  man,  and  Jesus  Christ  is  that  Re- 
deemer. The  word  is  Goel,  which  is  used  for  thf 
next  of  kin,  to  whom,  by  the  law  of  Moses,  the 
right  of  redeeming  a  mortgaged  estate  did  belong. 
Lev.  XXV.  25.  Our  heavenly  inheritance  was  mort- 
gaged by  sin,  we  are  ourselves  utterly  unable  to  re- 
deem it,'  Christ  is  near  of  kin  to  us,  the  next  Kins- 
man that  is  able  to  redeem;  he  has  paid  our  debt, 
satisfied  God's  justice  for  sin,  and  so  has  taken  off 
the  mortgage,  and  made  a  new  settlement  of  the 
inheritance!  Our  persons  also  want  a  Redeemer, 
we  are  sold  for  sin,  and  sold  under  sin ;  our  Lord 
Jesus  has  wrought  out  a  redemption  for  us,  and  pro- 
claims redemption  to  us,  and  so  he  is  truly  the  Re- 
deemer. (2.)  He  is  a  living  Redeemer:  as  we  are 
made  by  a  living  God,  so  we  are  saved  by  a  living 
Redeemer,  who  is  both  almighty  and  eternal,  and  is 
therefore  able  to  save  to  the  uttermost.  Of  him  ?> 
is  witnessed  that  he  liveth;  Heb.  vii.  8.  Rev.  i.  18 
We  are  dying,  but  he  liveth,  and  hath  assured  us, 
that  because  he  lrx>es,  we  shall  live  also,  John  xiv.  19. 
(3.)  There  are  those  that,  through  grace,  have  at 
interest  in  this  Redeemer,  and  can,  upon  gooc 
grounds,  call  him  theirs.  When  Job  had  lost  all  hi? 
wealth,  and  all  his  friends,  yet  he  was  not  separated 
from  Christ,  nor  cut  off  from  his  relation  to  r.im. 
"Still  he  is  my  Redeemer."  That  next  Kinsman 
adhered  to  him  when  all  his  other  kindred  forsook 
him,  and  he  had  the  comfort  of  it.  (4.)  Our  inte 
rest  in  the  Redeemer  is  a  thing  that  may  be  known, 
and,  where  it  is  known,  it  may  be  triumphed  in,  .i« 


JOB,  XTX. 


95 


sufficient  to  balance  all  our  griefs;  I  know.  Observe 
witli  what  an  air  of  assurance  he  speaks  it,  as  one 
confident  of  this  very  thing;  /  know  that  my  Re- 
deemer lives.  His  friends  had  often  charged  him 
with  ignorance  or  vain  knowledge;  but  lie  knows 
enough,  and  knows  to  good  purpose,  who  knows 
Christ  to  be  his  Redeemer.  (5.)  There  will  be  a 
latter  day,  a  last  day,  a  day  when  time  shall  be  no 
more,  Rev.  x.  6.  That  is  a  day  we  are  concerned 
to  think  of  every  day.  (6.)  Our  Redeemer  will,  at 
that  day,  stand  upon  the  earth,  or  over  the  earth, 
to  summon  the  dead  out  of  their  graves,  and  deter- 
mine them  to  an  unchangeable  state,  for  to  him  all 
judgment  is  committed.  He  shall  stand,  at  the  last, 
on  the  dust  to  which  this  earth  will  be  reduced  by 
the  conflagration. 

2.  He  believes  the  happiness  of  the  redeemed, 
and  his  own  title  to  that  happiness,  that,  at  Christ's 
second  coming,  believers  shall  be  raised  up  in  glory, 
and  so  made  pei-fectly  blessed  in  the  vision  and  frui- 
tion of  God;  and  this  he  believes  with  application 
to  himself. 

(1.)  He  counts  upon  the  corrupting  of  his  body  in 
the  grave,  and  speaks  of  it  with  a  holy  carelessness 
andimconcernedness;  Though,  after  my  skin  (which 
is  already  wasted  and  gone,  none  of  it  remaining  but 
the  skin  of  my  teeth,  v.  20. )  they  destroy  (they  that 
are  appointed  to  destroy  it,  the  gra\  e,  and  the  worms 
in  it,  of  whom  he  had  spoken,  ch.  xvii.  14.)  this  body. 
The  word  body  is  added:  "Though  they  destroy 
this,  this  skeleton,  this  shadow,  (cA.  xvii.  7.)  this 
that  I  lay  my  hand  upon,"  or  (pointing  perhaps  to 
his  weak  and  withered  limbs)  "this  that  you  see, 
call  it  what  you  will,  I  expect  that  shortly  it  will  be 
a  feast  for  the  worms."  Christ's  body  saw  not  cor- 
ruption, but  ours  must !  And  Job  mentions  this,  that 
the  glory  of  the  resurrection  he  believed  and  hoped 
for  might  shine  the  more  bright.  Note,  It  is  good 
for  us  often  to  think,  not  only  of  the  approaching 
death  of  our  bodies,  but  of  their  destruction  and  dis- 
solution m  the  grave;  yet  let  not  that  discourage  our 
hope  of  their  resurrection,  for  the  same  power  that 
made  man's  body  at  first,  out  of  common  dust,  can 
raise  it  out  of  its  own  dust  This  body,  which  we 
now  take  such  care  about,  and  make  such  provision 
for,  will,  in  a  little  time,  be  destroyed;  Even  my 
reins  (says  Job)  shall  be  consumed  within  me; 
{%'.  27. )  the  innermost  part  of  the  body,  which  per- 
haps putrifies  first. 

(2.)  He  comforts  himself  with  the  hopes  of  hap- 
piness on  the  other  side  death  and  the  grave;  After 
I  shall  avjake,  (so  the  margin  reads  it,)  though  this 
body  be  destroyed,  yet  out  of  myjtesh  shall  I  see  God. 

[i.]  Soul  and  body  shall  come  together  again. 
That  body  which  must  be  destroyed  in  the  grave, 
shall  be  raised  again,  a  glorious  body;  Yet  in  my 
flesh  I  shall  see  God.  The  separate  soul  has  eves 
wherewith  to  see  God,  eyes  of  the  mind;  but  Job 
speaks  of  seeing  him  with  eyes  of  flesh,  in  my  flesh, 
with  mine  eyes;  the  same  body  that  died  shall  rise 
again,  a  true  body,  but  a  glorified  body,  fit  for  the 
employments  and  entertainmentsof  that  world;  and 
therefore  a  spiritual  body,  1  Cor.  xv.  44.  Let  us 
therefore  glorify  God  with  our  bodies,  because  there 
is  such  a  glory  designed  for  them. 

[2."]  Job  and  God  shall  come  together  again;  In 
my  flesh  shall  I  see  God,  that  is,  the  glorified  Re- 
deemer, who  is  God.  /  shall  see  God  in  mv  flesh, 
so  some  read  it;  the  Son  of  God  clothed  with  a  bodv 
which  will  be  visible  even  to  eyes  of  flesh.  Though 
the  body,  in  the  grave,  seem  despicable  and  mise- 
r  ible,  yet  it  shall  be  dignified  and  made  happv  in 
the  vision  of  God.  Job  now  complained  that  he 
could  not  get  a  sight  of  God,  {ch.  xxiii.  8,  9.)  but 
hopes  to  see  him  shortly,  never  more  to  lose  the 
siTht  of  him,  and  that  sight  of  him  will  be  the  more 
welcome  after  the  present  darkness  and  distance. 


Note,  It  is  the  blessedness  of  the  blessed  that  they 
shall  see  God,  shall  see  him  as  he  is,  see  him  face 
to  face,  and  no  longer  through  a  glass  darkly.  See 
with  what  pleasure  holy  Job  enlarges  upon  this; 
{y.  27.)  "Tapiom  I  shall  see  for  inyself"  that  is, 
"see  and  enjoy,  .see  to  my  own  unspeakable  com- 
fort and  satisfaction.  I  shall  see  him  as  mine,  as 
mine  with  an  appropriating  sight,"  Rev.  xxi.  3. 
God  himself  shall  be  with  them,  and  be  their  God, 
they  shall  be  like  him,  for  they  shall  see  him  as  he 
is,  that  is,  seeing  for  themselves,  1  John  iii.  2.  Mine 
eyes  shall  behold  him,  and  not  anothei-.  First, 
"He,  and  not  another  for  him,  shall  be  seen,  not  a 
type  or  figure  of  him,  but  he  himself"  Glorified 
saints  are  perfectly  sure  that  they  are  not  imposed 
upon,  it  is  no  decefitio  visus — illusion  of  the  senses. 
Secondly,  "I,  and  not  another  for  me,  shall  see 
him.  Though  my  flesh  and  body  be  consumed, 
yet  I  shall  not  need  a  proxy,  I  shall  see  him  with 
my  own  eyes-."  This  was  what  Job  hoped  for,  and 
what  he  earnestly  desired;  which,  some  think,  is 
the  meaning  of  the  last  clause,  Afy  reins  are  sfient 
in  my  bosom,  that  is,  "  All  my  desires  are  summed 
up  and  concluded  in  this;  this  will  crown  and  com- 
plete them  all;  let  me  have  this,  and  I  shall  have 
nothing  more  to  desire;  it  is  enough,  it  is  all." 
With  this  the  prayers  of  David,  the  son  of  Jesse, 
are  ended. 

IV.  The  application  of  this  to  his  friends.  His 
creed  spake  comfort  to  himself,  but  warning  and 
terror  to  them  that  set  themselves  against  him. 

1.  It  was  a  word  of  caution  to  them,  net  to  pro- 
ceed and  persist  in  their  unkind  usage  of  him,  v. 
28.  He  had  repro\ed  them  for  what  they  had 
said,  and  now  tells  them  what  they  should  say  for 
the  reducing  of  themselves  and  one  another  to  a  bet- 
ter temper.  "Why  persecute  we  him  thus?  Why 
do  we  grieve  him  and  vex  him,  by  censuring  and 
condemning  him,  seeing  the  root  of  the  matter,  or 
the  root  of  the  word,  is  found  in  him?"  Let  this 
direct  us,  (1.)  In  our  care  concerning  ourselves. 
We  are  all  concerned  to  see  to  it,  that  the  root 
of  the  matter  be  found  in  us.  A  living,  quicken- 
ing, commanding,  principle  of  grace  in  the  heart, 
is  the  root  of  the  matter,  as  necessary  to  our  re- 
ligion as  the  root  to  the  tree,  to  which  it  owes 
both  its  fixedness  and  its  fruitfulness:  love  to  God 
and  our  brethren,  faith  in  Christ,  hatred  of  sin — 
these  are  the  root  of  the  matter,  other  things  are 
but  leaves  in  comparison  with  this;  serious  godli- 
ness is  the  one  thing  needful.  (2.)  In  our  conduct 
toward  our  brethren.  We  are  to  believe  that 
many  have  the  root  of  the  matter  in  them,  who  are 
not  in  every  thing  of  our  mind,  who  have  their  fol- 
lies, and  weaknesses,  and  mistakes:  and,  to  con- 
clude, it  is  at  our  peril  if  we  persecute  any  such. 
Woe  be  to  him  that  offends  one  of  those  little  ones! 
God  will  resent  and  revenge  it.  Job  and  his  friends 
differed  in  some  notions  concerning  the  methods  of 
Pro\idence,  but  they  agreed  in  the  root  of  the  mat- 
ter, the  belief  of  another  world,  and  therefore  should 
not  persecute  one  another  for  these  difl'erences. 

2.  It  was  a  word  of  terror  to  them.  Christ's 
second  coming  will  be  very  dreadful  to  those  that 
are  found  smiting  their  fellow  serxmnts;  (Matth. 
xxiv.  49.)  and  therefore,  {v.  29.)  ''Be  ye  afraid  of 
the  sword,  the  flaming  sword  of  God's  justice,  which 
turns  every  way;  fear  lest  you  make  yourselves 
obnoxious  to  it."  Good  men  need  to  be  frightened 
from  sin  by  the  terrors  of  the  Almighty,  particular- 
Iv  from  the  sin  of  rashly  judging  their  brethren, 
Matth.  vii.  1.  Jam.  iii.  1.  Those  that  arc  peevish 
and  passionate  with  their  brethren,  censorious  of 
them,  and  malicious  toward  them,  should  know, 
not  only  that  their  wrath,  whatever  it  pretends, 
works  not  the  righteousness  of  God,  but,  (1.)  Thev 
may  expect  to  smart  for  it  in  this  world;  it  bnn!*TS 


96 


JOB,  XX. 


the  fiunUhments  of  the  fi'ivord:  wrath  leads  to  such 
crimes  as  expose  men  to  the  sword  of  the  magis- 
trate; however,  God  often  takes  \engeHnce  for  it, 
and  those  that  showed  no  mercy,  shall  find  no  mer- 
cv.  (2.)  If  tliey  repent  not,  that  will  be  an  earnest 
of  worse.  By  these  you  may  know  there  is  a  judg- 
ment, not  only  a  present  government,  but  a  future 
judgment,  in  which  hard  speeches  must  be  ac- 
counted for. 

CHAP.  XX. 

One  would  have  thought  that  such  an  excellent  confession 
of  faith  as  Job  made  in  the  close  of  the  foregoing  chap- 
ter, should  have  saiisfied  his  friends,  or,  at  least,  have 
mollified  them  ;  but  they  do  not  seem  to  have  taken  any 
notice  of  it,  and  therefore  Zophar  here  takes  his  turn, 
enters  the  lists  with  Joh,  and  attacks  him  with  as  much 
vehemence  as  before.  1.  His  preface  is  short,  but  hot, 
T.  2,  3.  II.  His  discourse  is  lung,  and  all  upon  one  sub- 
ject, the  very  same  that  Bildad  was  large  upon,(ch.  xviii.) 
the  certain  misery  of  wicked  people,  and  the  ruin  that 
awaits  them.  1.  He  asserts  in  general,  that  the  pros- 
perity of  a  wicked  person  is  short,  and  his  ruin  sure,  v. 
4 . .  9.  2.  He  proves  the  misery  of  his  condition  by  many 
instances — That  he  should  have  a  diseased  body,  a  trou- 
bled conscience,  a  ruined  estate,  a  beggared  family,  an 
infamous  name,  and  that  he  himself  shall  perish  under 
the  weight  of  divine  wrath.  All  this  is  most  curiously 
described  here  in  lofty  expressions  and  lively  similitudes; 
and  it  often  proves  true  in  this  world,  and  always  in 
another,  without  repentance,  v.  10.  .  29.  But  the  great 
mistake  was,  and  (as  Bishop  Patrick  expresses  it)  all 
the  flaw  in  his  discourse,  (which  was  common  to  him 
with  the  rest,)  that  he  imagined  God  never  varied  from 
this  method,  and  therefore  Job  was,  without  doubt,  a 
very  bad  man,  though  it  did  not  appear  he  was,  any  other 
way  than  by  his  infelicity. 

] .  npHEN  answered  Zophar  the  Naama- 
jL  thite,  and  said,  2.  Therefore  do  my 
thoughts  cause  me  to  answer,  and  for  this  I 
make  haste.  3.  I  have  heard  the  check  of 
my  reproach,  and  the  spirit  of  my  under- 
standing causeth  me  to  answer.  4.  Know- 
est  thou  not  this  of  old,  since  man  was 
placed  upon  earth,  5.  That  the  triumphing 
of  the  wicked  is  short,  and  the  joy  of  the 
hypocrite  kit  for  a  moment?  6.  Though 
his  excellency  mount  up  to  the  heavens, 
and  his  head  reach  unto  the  clouds:  7. 
Yet  he  shall  perish  for  ever  like  his  own 
dung :  they  which  have  seen  him  shall  say. 
Where  is  he?  8.  He  shall  fly  away  as  a 
dream,  and  shall  not  be  found ;  yea,  he 
shall  be  chased  away  as  a  vision  of  the 
night.  9.  The  eye  also  which  saw  him 
shall  see  him.  no  more ;  neither  shall  his 
place  any  more  behold  him. 

Here, 

I.  Zophar  begins  very  passionately,  and  seems  to 
be  in  a  great  heat  at  what  Job  had  said-  Being 
resolved  to  condenm  Job  for  a  bad  man,  he  was 
much  disjjlcHsed  that  he  talked  so  like  a  good  man, 
und,  as  it  should  seem,  brake  in  u])on  him,  and  be- 
gin abruptly;  {v.  2.)  Therefore  do  my  thoughts 
rau.se  77ie  to  answer.  He  takes  no  notice  of  what 
Job  had  said,  to  move  their  pity,  or  to  evidence  his 
nwn  integrity,  but  fastens  upon  the  reproof  he  gave 
them  in  the  close  of  his  discourse,  counts  that  a 
re])roach,  and  thinks  himself  therefore  obliged  to 
answer,  because  Job  had  bidden  thein  be  afraid  of 
the  sword,  that  he  inight  not  seem  to  be  frightened 
bv  his  menaces.  The  best  counsel  is  too  often  ill 
taken  from  an  antagonist,  and  therefore  usually 


may  be  well  spared.  Zophar  seemed  more  in  haste 
to  speak  than  became  a  wise  mm;  but  he  excuses 
it  with  two  things.  1.  That  Job  had  gi\en  him  a 
strong  provocation;  (t'.  3.)  "I  have  heard  the  chick 
of  my  refiroach,  and  cannot  bear  to  hear.it  any 
longer."  Job's  friends,  I  doubt,  had  spirits  too 
high  to  deal  with  a  man  in  his  low  condition;  and 
high  spirits  are  impatient  of  contradiction,  and  think 
themselves  affronted,  if  all  about  them  do  not  S'V 
as  they  say :  they  cannot  bear  a  check,  but  they  call 
it  the  check  of  their  refiroach,  and  then  they  are 
bound  in  honour  to  return  it,  if  not  to  draw  upon 
him  that  gave  it.  2.  That  his  own  heart  gave  him 
a  strong  instigation.  His  thoughts  caused  him  tc 
answer,  {y.  2. )  for  out  of  the  abundance  of  the  hear' 
the  mouth  speaks;  but  he  fathers  it  {v.  3.)  upon  the 
spirit  of  his  understanding:  that  indeed  should  cause 
us  to  answer,  we  should  rightly  apprehend  a  thing, 
and  duly  consider  it,  before  we  speak  to  it;  but 
whether  it  did  so  here  or  no,  is  a  question:  men  of- 
ten mistake  the  dictates  of  their  passion  for  the  dic- 
tates of  their  reason,  and  therefore  think  they  do 
well  to  be  angry. 

II.  Zophar  proceeds  very  plainly  to  show  the 
ruin  and  destruction  of  wicked  people,  insinuating 
that  because  Job  was  destroyed  and  ruined,  he  was 
certainly  a  wicked  man,  and  a  hypocrite. 

Observe, 

1.  How  this  doctrine  is  introduced;  (t;.  4.)  where 
he  appeals,  (1.)  To  Job's  own  knowledge  and  con- 
viction; "Knoivest  thou  not  this?  Canst  thou  be 
ignorant  of  a  truth  so  plain.''  Or  canst  thou  doubt 
of  a  truth  which  has  been  confirmed  by  the  suffrage 
of  all  mankind?"  Those  know  little,  who  do  not 
know  that  the  wages  of  sin  is  death.  (2.)  To  the 
experience  of  all  ages.  It  was  known  of  old,  since 
man  was  placed  upon  the  earth,  that  is,  ever  since 
man  was  made,  he  has  had  this  truth  written  in  his 
heart,  that  the  sin  of  sinners  will  be  their  ruin;  and 
ever  since  there  were  instances  of  wickedness, 
(which  there  were  soon  after  man  was  placed  on  the 
earth,)  there  were  instances  of  the  punishments  of 
it,  witness  the  exclusions  of  Adam  and  Cain.  When 
sin  entered  into  the  world,  death  entered  with  it: 
all  the  world  knows  that  evil  pursues  sinners,  whom 
vengeance  suffers  not  to  live,  (Acts  xxviii.  4.)  and 
subscribes  to  that,  (Isa.  iii.  11.)  Woe  to  the  wicked, 
it  shall  be  ill  with  him,  sooner  or  later. 

2.  How  it  is  laid  down;  (t.  5.)  The  triumfihing 
of  the  wicked  is  short,  and  the  joy  of  the  hyfiocrite 
out  for  a  m.oment.  Observe,  (1.)  He  asserts  the 
misery,  not  only  of  those  who  are  openly  wicked 
and  profane,  but  of  hypocrites,  who  secretly  prac- 
tise wickedness  imder  a  show  and  profession  of 're- 
ligion, because  such  a  wicked  man  he  looked  upon 
Job  to  be;  and  it  is  true  that  a  form  of  godliness,  if 
it  be  made  use  of  for  a  cloak  of  maliciousness,  does 
but  make  bad  worse;  dissembled  piety  is  doul)1e 
iniquity,  and  the  ruin  that  attends  it  will  be  accoi-d- 
ingly.  The  hottest  place  in  hell  will  be  the  portion 
of  hypocrites,  as  our  Saviour  intimates,  Matth 
xxiv.  5\.  (2.)  He  grants  that  wicked  men  may, 
for  a  time,  prosper,  may  be  secure  and  easv,  imd 
very  merry ;  you  may  see  them  in  triumph  and  jny, 
triumphing  and  rejoicing  in  their  wealth  artd  power, 
their  gi'andeur  and  success,  triumphing  and  rei"ic- 
ing  over  their  poor  honest  neighl)ours  whoni  they 
vex  and  oppress:  they  feel  no  evil,  they  fear  none. 
Job's  friends  were  loath  to  own,  at  first,  that  wick- 
ed people  might  prosper  at  all,  {ch.  iv.  9.)  until 
Job  proved  it  plainly;  (cA.  ix.  24. — xii.  6.)  and  now 
Zophar  yields  it:  but,  (3.)  He  lays  it  down  for  a 
certain  truth,  that  they  will  not  prosper  long. 
Their  joy  is  but  for  a  moment,  and  will  quicklv 
end  in  endless  sorrow;  though  he  be  c\cr  so  great, 
and  rich,  and  jovial,  he  will  be  humbled,  and  mor 
tified,  and  made  miserable. 


JOB,  XX. 


97 


3.  How  it  is  illustrated,  v.  6,  &c. 

(1.)  He  supposes  his  prosperity  to  be  very  high, 
as  hiijU  as  you  can  imagine,  v.  6.  It  is  not  his  wis- 
dom and  virtue,  but  his  worldly  wealth  and  great- 
ness, tliat  lie  accounts  his  excellency,  and  values 
himself  upon:  we  will  suppose  those  to  mount  up  to 
the  heavens,  and,  since  his  spirit  always  rises  with 
his  condition,  you  may  suppose  that  with  it  his 
head  reaches  to  the  clouds.  He  is  every  way  ad- 
vanced, the  world  has  done  the  utmost  it  can  for 
him,  he  looks  down  upon  all  about  him  with  disdain, 
while  they  look  up  to  him  with  admiration,  envy, 
or  fear;  we  will  suppose  him  to  bid  fair  for  a  uni- 
versal monarchy.  And  though  he  cannot  but  have 
made  himself  many  enemies  before  he  arrived  to 
this  pitch  of  prosperity,  yet  he  thinks  himself  as 
much  out  of  the  reach  of  tlieir  darts  as  if  he  were  in 
tie  clouds. 

(2. )  He  is  confident  that  his  ruin  will,  according- 
ly, be  very  great,  and  his  fall  the  more  dreadful  for 
his  having  risen  so  high;  He  shall  jierish  for  ever, 
V.  7.  His  pride  and  security  were  the  certain  pre- 
sages of  his  misery.  This  will  certainly  be  true  of 
all  impenitent  sinners  in  the  other  world,  they  shall 
be  undone,  for  e\  er  undone;  but  Zophar  means  his 
ruin  in  this  world:  and  indeed  sometimes  notorious 
sinners  are  remarkably  cut  off  by  present  judg- 
ments, they  have  reason  enough  to  fear  what  Zo- 
phar here  threatens  even  the  triumphant  sinner 
with.  [1.]  A  s/zame/u/ destruction.  He  shall  per- 
ish like  his  own  dung  or  dunghill,  so  loathsome  is 
he  to  God  and  all  good  men,  and  so  willing  will  the 
world  be  to  part  with  him,  Ps.  cxix.  119.  Isa.  Ixvi. 
24.  [2.]  A  sur/irising  destruction.  He  will  be 
brought  into  desolation  in  a  moment,  (Ps.  Ixxiii. 
19.)  so  that  those  about  him,  that  saw  him  but  just 
now,  will  ask,  "iVhere  is  he?  Could  he  that  made 
so  gieat  a  figure  vanish  and  expire  so  suddenly?" 
[3.]  A  swift  destruction,  -v.  8.  He  shall  fly  away 
upon  the  wings  of  his  own  terrors,  and  be  chased 
away  by  the  just  imprecations  of  all  about  him,  who 
would  gladly  be  rid  of  him.  [4  ]  An  utter  destruc- 
tion. It  will  be  total;  he  shall  go  away  like  a 
dream,  or  vision  of  the  night,  which  was  a  mere 
phantasm,  Jind,  whate\er  in  it  pleased  the  fancy, 
it  is  quite  gone,  and  nothing  of  it  remains,  but  what 
serves  us  to  laugh  at  the  folly  of.  It  will  be  final, 
V.  9.  The  eye  that  saw  him,  and  was  ready  to 
adore  him,  shall  see  him  no  more,  and  the  place  he 
filled  shall  no  more  behold  him,  having  given  him 
an  eternal  farewell  when  he  went  to  his  own  place, 
as  Judas,  Acts  i.  25. 

1 0.  His  children  shall  seek  to  please  the 
poor,  and  his  liands  shall  restore  their  goods. 

1 1 .  His  bones  are  full  of  the  sin  of  his  youth, 
which  shall  lie  down  with  him  in  the  dust. 

12.  Though  wickedness  be  sweet  in  his 
mouth,  though  he  hide  it  under  his  tongue; 

1 3.  Thongh  he  spare  it,  and  forsake  it  not, 
but  keep  it  still  within  his  mouth ;  1 4.  Yet 
his  meat  in  his  bowels  is  turned,  it  is  the 
gall  of  asps  within  him.  1 5.  He  hath  swal- 
lowed down  riches,  and  he  shall  vomit  them 
up  again :  God  shall  cast  them  out  of  his 
belly.  16.  He  shall  suck  the  poison  of 
asps:  the  viper's  tongue  shall  slay  him.  17. 
He  shall  not  see  the  rivers,  the  floods,  the 
brooks  of  honey  and  butter.  18.  That 
which  he  laboured  for  shall  he  restore,  and 
shall  not  swallow  it  down :  according  to 
his  substance  shall  the  restitution  he^  and  ho 

Vol.  III.— N 


shall  not  rejoice  therein.  19.  Because  he 
hath  oppressed  and  hath  forsaken  the  poor , 
because  he  hath  violently  taken  away  a 
house  which  he  builded  not;  20.  Surely 
he  shall  not  feel  quietness  in  his  belly,  he 
shall  not  save  of  that  which  he  desired.  21 , 
There  shall  none  of  his  meat  be  loft :  there- 
fore shall  no  man  look  for  his  goods.  22, 
In  the  fulness  of  his  sufficiency  he  shall  bo 
in  straits:  every  hand  of  the  wicked  shall 
come  upon  him. 

The  instances  here  gi\  en  nf  the  miserable  condi- 
tion of  the  wicked  man  in  this  world,  are  expressed 
with  a  great  fulness  and  fluency  of  language,  and 
the  same  thing  returned  to  again,  and  repeated  in 
other  words.  Let  us  therefore  reduce  the  particu- 
lars to  their  proper  heads;  and  observe, 

I.  What  his  wickedness  is,  for  which  he  is  pu 
nished. 

1.  The  lusts  of  the  flesh,  here  called  the  sins  oj 
his  youth;  {v.  11.)  for  those  are  the  sins  which,  at 
that  age,  people  are  most  tempted  to.  The  forbid  ■ 
den  pleasures  of  sense  are  said  to  be  sivect  in  hit, 
tnouth;  {v.  12.)  he  indulges  himself  in  all  the  gru 
tifications  of  the  carnal  appetite,  and  takes  an  inor- 
dinate complacency  in  them,  as  yielding  the  mosl 
agreeable  delights.  That  is  the  satisfaction  which 
he  hides  under  his  tongue,  and  rolls  there,  as  the 
most  dainty  delicate  thing  that  can  be:  he  keeps  it 
still  within  his  mouth;  (v.  13.)  let  him  have  that, 
and  he  desires  no  more;  he  will  never  part  with 
that  for  the  spiritual  and  di\jne  pleasures  of  re- 
ligion, which  he  has  no  relish  of,  nor  affection  for. 
His  keeping  it  still  in  his  mouth,  denotes  both  his 
obstinate  persisting  in  his  sin,  (he  sjjares  it  when  he 
should  kill  and  mortify  it,  and  forsakes  it  not,  but 
holds  it  fast,  and  goes  on  frowardly  in  it,)  and  also 
his  re-acting  of  his  sin,  by  revolving  it,  and  remem- 
bering it  with  pleasure^  as  that  adulterous  woman, 
(Ezek.  xxiii.  19.)  \sho  muUiplied  her  ivhorcdoms  by 
calling  to  remembrance  the  days  of  her  yonth;  so 
does  this  wicked  man  here.  Or,  his  hiding  it  and 
keeping  it  under  his  tongue  denotes  his  industrious 
concealment  of  his  beloved  lust:  being  a  hypocrite, 
that  he  may  save  the  credit  of  his  profession,  he 
has  secret  haunts  of  sin;  but  he  who  knows  what  is 
in  the  heart,  knows  what  is  under  the  tongue  too, 
and  will  discover  it  shortly. 

2.  The  love  of  the  world  and  the  wealth  of  it; 
that  is  it  in  which  he  places  his  happiness,  and 
which  therefore  he  sets  his  heart  upon.  See  here, 
(1.)  How  greedy  he  is  of  it,  x>.  15.  He  has  swal- 
lowed down  riches,  as  eagerly  as  ever  a  hungry 
man  swallowed  down  meat;  and  is  still  crying, 
"  Give,  give."  It  is  that  which  he  desired;  {v.  20.) 
it  was,  in  his  eye,  the  best  gift,  and  that  which  he 
coveted  earnestly.  (2.)  What  pains  he  takes  for 
it;  it  is  that  which  he  laboured  for,  {v.  18.)  not  by 
honest  diligence  in  a  lawful  calling,  but  by  an  un- 
wearied prosecution  of  all  ways  and  methods,  per 
fas,  per  nefas — right  or  ivrong,  to  be  rich.  We. 
must  labour,  not  to  be  rich,  (Prov.  xxiii.  4. )  but  to 
be  charitable,  that  toe  may  have  to  give,  (Eph.  i\-. 
28.)  not  to  spend.  (3.)  What  great  things  he  pro- 
mises himself  from  it,  intimated  in  the  rivers,  the 
floods,  the  brooks  of  honey  and  butter;  {y.  17.)  h's 
being  disappointed  of  them  supposes  tliat  he  hfid 
flattered  himself  with  the  hopes  of  them:  he  ex- 
pected rivers  of  sensual  delights. 

3.  Violence,  and  oppression,  and  injustice,  to  his 
poor  neighbours,  xk  19.  This  was  the  sin  of  the 
giants  of  the  old  world,  and  a  sin  that,  as  much  as 
any  other,  bnitgs  God*s  judgments  upon  nations  and 


93 


JOB,  XX. 


f  milies.  It  is  charged  upon  this  wicked  man,  (1.) 
That  he  has  forsaken  tlie  poor,  taken  no  care  of 
them,  showed  no  kindness  to  them,  nor  made  any 
pro\  ision  for  them.  At  first,  perhaps,  for  a  pre- 
tence, he  gave  alms  like  the  Pharisees,  to  gain  a 
reputation;  but,  when  he  had  served  his  turn  with 
it,  he  left  it  oflF,  and  forsook  the  poor,  whom  before 
he  seemed  to  be  concerned  for.  Those  who  do 
good,  but  not  from  a  good  principle,  though  they 
may  abound  in  it,  will  not  abide  in  it.  (2. )  That 
he  has  oppressed  them,  crushed  them,  taken  all 
advantages  against  them  to  do  them  a  mischief:  to 
enrich  himself,  he  has  made  the  poor  poorer.  (3.) 
Tlidt  he  has  violently  taken  away  their  houses,  which 
he  liad  no  right  to,  as  Ahab  took  Naboth's  vineyard, 
not  by  secret  fraud,  by  forgery,  perjury,  or  some 
trick  in  law,  but  avowedly,  and  by  open  violence. 
11.   What  his  punishment  is,  for  this  wickedness. 

1.  He  shall  be  disappointed  in  his  expectations, 
and  shall  not  find  that  satisfaction  in  his  worldly 
wealth  which  he  vainly  promised  himself;  {v.  17.) 
He  shall  never  see  (he  rivers,  the  Jloods,  the  brooks 
of  honey  and  butter,  with  which  he  hoped  to  glut 
himself.  The  world  is  not  that  to  those  who  love 
it,  and  court  it,  and  admire  it,  which  they  fancy  it 
will  be.  The  enjoyment  sinks  far  below  the  raised 
expectation. 

2.  He  shall  be  diseased  and  distempered  in  his 
body;  and  how  little  comfort  a  man  has  in  riches, 
if  he  has  not  health !  Sickness  and  pain,  especially 
if  they  be  in  extremity,  imbitter  all  his  enjoyments. 
This  wicked  man  has  all  the  delights  of  sense 
wound  up  to  the  height  of  pleasurableness;  but 
what  real  happiness  can  he  enjoy,  when  his  bones 
are  full  of  the  sins  of  his  youth,  {v.  11.)  that  is,  of 
the  effects  of  those  sins?  By  his  drunkenness  and 
gluttony,  his  uncleanness  and  wantonness,  when  he 
was  young,  he  contracted  those  diseases  which  are 
painful  to  him  long  after,  and,  perhaps,  make  his 
life  very  miserable,  and,  as  Solomon  speaks,  con- 
sume his  flesh  and  his  body,  Prov.  v.  11.  Perhaps 
he  was  given  to  fight  when  he  was  young,  and  then 
made  nothing  of  a  cut  or  a  bruise  in  a  fray;  but  he 
feels  it  in  his  bones  long  after.  But  can  he  get  no 
ease,  m  relief?  No,  he  is  likely  to  carry  his  pains 
and  diseases  with  him  to  the  grave,  or  rather,  they 
are  likely  to  carry  him  thitlier,  and  so  the  sins  of  his 
youth  shall  tie  down  with  him  in  the  dust:  the  very 
putrifying  of  his  body  in  the  grave  is  to  him  the 
effect  of  sin;  (c//.  xxiV.  19.)  so  that  his  iniquity  is 
upon  his  bones  there,  Ezek.  xxxii.  27.  The  sin 
of  sinners  fvillows  them  to  the  other  side  death; 

3.  He  shall  be  disquieted  and  troubled  in  his 
mind;  Surely  he  shall  not  f  el  (/uietness  in  hut  belly, 
V.  20.  He  has  not  that  ease  in  his  own  mind  that 
pe-'ple  think  he  has,  but  is  in  continual  agitation. 
The  ill-gotten  wealth  which  he  has  swallowed 
down,  makes  him  sick,  and,  like  undigested  meat,  is 
always  upbraiding  him.  Let  none  expect  to  enjoy 
that  'comfortably  which  they  have  gotten  unjustly. 
The  unquietness  of  his  mind  arises,  (1.)  From  his 
conscience  looking  back,  and  filling  him  with  the 
fear  of  the  wrath  of  God  against  him,  for  his  wick- 
edness. Even  that  wickedness  which  was  sweet  in 
the  commission,  and  was  rolled  under  the  tongue  as 
a  delicate  morsel,  becomes  bitter  in  the  reflection, 
and,  when  it  is  reviewed,  fills  him  with  horror  and 
vexation.  In  his  bowels,  it  is  turned,  {v.  14. )  like 
John's  book;  in  his  mouth  as  sweet  as  honey,  but, 
when  he  had  eaten  it,  his  belly  was  bitter,  Rev,  x. 
10.  Such  a  thing  is  sin;  it  is  turned  into  the  gall 
of  asi^s,  than  which  notliing  is  more  bitter,  the  poi- 
son of  asps,  (i'.  16.)  than  which  nothing  more  fatal, 
aiTid  so  it  will  be  to  him;  what  he  sucked  so  sweetly, 
awd  with  so  mucli  i)leasnre,  will  prove  to  him  the 
p'lis'^iii  of  asps;  so  will  all  unlawful  gains  be.  The 
t.w.iljy^  tongue  will  prove  the  >iper's  tongue.     All 


the  charming  giaces  that  are  thought  to  be  in  sin, 
when  conscience  is  awakened,  wi.l  turn  into  sc 
many  raging  furies.  (2.)  From  his  cares  looking 
forward,  v.  22.  In  the  fulness  of  his  sufficiency, 
when  he  thinks  himself  most  h^ppy,  and  most  sure 
of  the  continuance  of  his  h..ppiuess,  he  shall  be  in 
straits,  that  is,  he  shall  think  himself  so,  through 
the  anxieties  and  perplexities  of  his  own  mind,  as 
that  rich  man  who,  when  his  ground  brought  forth 
plentifully,  cried  out,  what  shall  I  do?  Luke  xii.  17. 
4.  He  shall  be  dispossessed  of  his  estate;  that 
shall  sink  and  dwindle  away  to  nothing,  so  that  he 
shall  not  rejoice  therein,  v,.  18.  He  shall  not  cnly 
never  rejoice  truly,  but  not  long  rejiice  at  all. 

(1.)  What  he  has  unjustly  swallowed,  he  shall 
be  compelled  to  disgorge;  {v.  15.)  He  swallowcc' 
down  riches,  and  then  thought  himself  sure  of 
them,  and  that  they  were  as  much  his  own  as  the 
meat  he  has  eaten,  but  he  is  deceived,  he  shall 
vomit  them  up  again;  his  own  conscience  perhaps 
may  make  him  so  uneasy  in  tlie  keeping  of  what  ne 
has  gotten,  that,  for  the  quiet  of  his  own  mind,  he 
shall  make  restitution,  and  that  not  with  the  plea- 
sure of  a  virtue,  but  the  pain  of  a  vomit,  and  with 
the  utmost  reluctancy.  Or,  if  he  do  not  himself  re- 
fund what  he  has  violently  taken  away,  God  shall, 
by  his  providence,  force  him  to  it,  and  bring  it  about, 
one  way  or  other,  that  ill-gotten  goods  shall  return 
to  the  right  owners.  God  shall  cast  them  out  of  his 
belly,  while  yet  the  love  of  the  sin  is  not  cast  out 
of  his  heart.  So  loud  shall  the  clamours  of  the  poor, 
whom  he  has  impoverished,  be  against  him,  that 
he  shall  be  forced  to  send  his  children  to  them,  to 
sooth  them,  and  beg  their  pardon;  {y.  10.)  His 
children  shall  seek  to  please  the  fioor,  while  his  own 
hands  shall  restore  them  their  goods  with  shame, 
V.  18.  That  which  he  laboured  for,  by  all  the  art? 
of  oppression,  shall  he  restore,  and  shall  not  sc 
swallow  it  down  as  to  digest  it;  it  shall  not  stay 
with  him,  but  according  to  his  sham'e  shall  the  re- 
stitution be;  having  gotten  a  great  deal  unjustly, 
he  shall  restore  a  great  deal,  so  that  when  every 
one  has  his  own,  he  will  have  but  a  little  left  for 
himself.  To  be  made  to  restore  what  was  unjustly 
gotten,  by  the  sanctifying  grace  of  God,  as  Zaccheus 
was,  is  a  great  mercy;  he  voluntarily  and  cheerfully 
restored  four-fold,  and  yet  had  a  great  deal  left  to 
give  to  the  poor,  Luke  xix.  8.  But  to  be  forced  to 
restore,  as  Judas  was,  merely  by  the  horrors  of  a 
despairing  conscience,  has  none  of  that  benefit  and 
comfort  attending  it,  for  he  threw  down  the  pieces 
of  silver,  and  went  and  hanged  himself 

(2. )  He  shall  be  stripped  of  all  he  has,  and  be- 
come a  beggar.  He  that  spoiled  others,  shall  him- 
self be  spoiled;  (Isa.  xxxiii.  1.)  for  every  hayid  of 
the  wicked  shall  be  upon  him.  The  innocent,  whom 
he  has  wronged,  sit  down  by  their  loss,  saying,  as 
David,  Wickedness  proceedeth  from  thevjicked,but 
my  hand  shall  not  be  upon  him,  1  Sam.  xxiv.  13. 
But  though  they  have  forgiven  him,  though  they 
will  make  no  reprisals,  divine  justice  will,  and  often 
makes  the  wicked  to  avenge  the  'quarrel  of  the 
righteous,  ;ind  squeezes  and  crushes  one  bad  man 
bv  the  hand  of  another  upon  him.  Thus  when  he 
is  plucked  on  iill  sides,  he  shall  not  save  of  that 
which  he  desired;  (i'.  20.)  not  only  he  shall  not 
save  it  all,  but  he  shall  save  nothing  of  it.  There 
shall  none  of  his  meat  (which  he  coveted  so  much, 
and  fed  upon  with  so  much  pleasure)  be  left,  t.  21. 
All  his  neighbours  and  relations  shall  look  upon 
him  to  be  in  such  bad  circumstances,  that,  when  he 
is  dead,  no  man  shall  look  for  his  goods,  none  of  his 
k  iidrcd  shall  expect  to  be  a  ])enny  the  l)etter  for 
him,  nor  be  willing  to  take  out  letters  of  adminis- 
tration for  what  he  leaves  behind  him.  In  i''  this 
Zophar  reflects  upon  Job,  who  had  lost  aV,  a  •''  was 
reduced  to  the  last  extremity. 


JOB,  XX. 


99 


23.  Tf'icen  ne  is  about  to  fill  his  belly,  God 
shall  cast  the  fury  of  his  wrath  upon  him, 
and  shall  rain  it  upon  him  while  he  is  eating. 
'■24.  He  shall  flee  from  the  iron  weapon,  aiid 
the  bow  of  steel  shall  strike  hirii  through. 

25.  It  is  drawn,  and  cometh  out  of  the 
body ;  yea,  the  glittering  sword  cometh  out 
of  his  gall :  terrors  are  upon  him.  26.  All 
darkness  shall  be  hid  in  his  secret  places;  a 
fire  not  blown  out  shall  consume  him;  it 
shall  go  ill  with  him  that  is  left  in  his  taber- 
nacle. 27.  Tiie  heaven  shall  reveal  his  ini- 
quity; and  the  earth  shall  rise  up  against 
him.  28.  The  increase  of  his  house  shall 
depart,  and  Ins  goods  shall  flow  away  in  the 
day  of  his  wrath.  29.  This  is  the  portion  of 
a  wicked  man  from  God,  and  the  heritage 
appointed  unto  him  by  God. 

Zophar,  ha\ing  described  the  many  embaiTass- 
ments  and  vexations  which  commonly  attend  the 
■wicked  practices  of  oppressors  and  cruel  men,  here 
comes  to  show  their  utter  ruin  at  last. 

1.  Their  ruin  will  take  its  rise  from  God's  wrath 
and  \engeance,  f.  23.  The  hand  of  the  wicked 
was  upon  him;  {v.  22.)  e\  ery  hand  of  the  wicked. 
His  hand  was  against  every  one,  and  therefore  e\ery 
man's  hand  will  be  against  him — yet,  in  grappling 
with  these,  he  might  go  near  to  make  his  part 
good;  but  his  he  irt  cannot  endure,  nor  his  hands 
be  strong,  when  God  shall  deal  with  him,  (Ezek. 
xxii.  14. )  when  God  shall  cast  the  fury  of  his  wrath 
upon  him,  and  rnin  it  upon  him.  Every  word  here 
speaks  terror.  It  is  not  only  the  justice  of  God, 
that  is  engaged  against  him,  but  his  wrath,  the  deep 
resentment  of  provocations  gi>  en  to  himself:  it  is 
the  fury  of  his  vjrath,  incensed  to  the  highest  de- 
gree; it  is  cast  upon  him  with  force  and  fierceness; 
it  is  rained  upon  him  in  abundance;  it  comes  on  his 
head  like  the  fire  and  brimstone  upon  Sodom,  to 
which  the  psilmist  also  refers,  (Ps.  xi.  6.)  On  the 
ivicked  God  shall  rain  fire  and  brimstone.  There 
is  no  fence  against  this,  but  in  Christ,  who  is  the 
only  Covert  from  the  storm  and  tempest,  Isa.  xxxii. 
2.  This  wr  ith  shall  be  cast  upon  him,  when  he  is 
about  to  fill  his  belly,  just  going  to  glut  himself  with 
what  he  has  gotten,  and  promising  himself  abun- 
dant satisfaction  in  it.  Then,  when  he  is  eating, 
shall  tliis  tempest  surprise  him,  when  he  is  secure 
and  easy,  and  in  apprehension  of  no  danger;  as  the 
ruin  of  the  old  world  and  Sodom  came,  when  they 
were  jn  the  depth  of  their  security,  and  the  height 
of  their  sensuality,  as  Christ  observes,  Luke  xvii. 

26,  Sec.  Perhaps  Zophar  here  reflects  on  the  death 
of  Job's  children,  when  they  were  eating  and  drinking. 

2.  Their  ruin  will  be  inevitable,  and  there  will 
be  no  possibility  of  escaping  it;  (i;.  24.)  He  shall 
flee  from  the  iron  weapon.  Flight  argues  guilt:  he 
will  not  humble  himself  under  the  judgments  of 
God,  nor  seek  means  to  make  his  peace  with  him; 
all  his  care  is  to  escape  the  vengeance  that  pursues 
him,  but  in  vain:  if  he  escape  the  sword,  yet  the 
bow  of  steel  shall  strike  him  through.  God  has 
weapons  of  all  sorts,  he  has  both  whet  his  sword, 
and  bent  his  bow;  (Ps.  vii.  12,  13.)  he  can  deal  with 
his  enemies  cominns  or  eminus — at  hand  or  afar 
off.  He  has  a  sword  for  those  that  think  to  fight  it 
out  with  him  by  their  strength,  and  a  bow  for  those 
that  think  to  avoid  him  bv  their  craft.  See  Isaiah 
x\iv.  17,  18.  Jer.  xlviii.  43,  44.  He  that  is  mark- 
ed for  ruin,  though  he  may  escape  one  judgment, 
will  find  another  ready  for  him. 


3.  It  will  be  a  total,  terrible,  ruin.  When  thi- 
dart  that  has  sti-uck  him  through,  (for  when  Ci<.(i 
shoots,  he  is  sure  to  hit  his  mark,  when  he  strikes, 
he  strikes  home,)  comes  to  be  drawn  out  of  his  body, 
when  the  glittering  sword,  (the  lightning,  so  the 
word  is,)  the  flaming  sword,  the  sword  that  is  bath- 
ed in  heaven,  (Isa.  xxxiv.  5.)  when  this  comes  out 
of  his  gall,  O  what  terrors  are  upon  him!  How- 
strong  are  the  convulsions,  how  violent  are  the  d)'- 
ing  agonies!  How  terrible  are  the  arrests  of  deatli 
to  a  wicked  man! 

4.  Sometimes  it  i,s  a  ruin  that  comes  upon  him 
insensibly,  -v.  26.  (1.)  The  darkness  he  is  wrap- 
ped up  in,  is  a  hidden  darkness:  it  is  all  darkness, 
utter  darkness,  without  the  least  mixture  of  light, 
and  it  is  hid  in  his  secret  place,  whither  he  is  re- 
treated, and  where  he  hopes  to  shelter  himself;  he 
never  retires  into  his  own  conscience,  but  he  finds 
himself  in  the  dark,  and  utterly  at  a  loss.  (2.)  The 
fire  he  is  consumed  by  is  a  fire  not  blown,  kindled 
without  noise,  a  consumption  which  every  body 
sees  the  effect  of,  but  nobody  sees  the  cause  of;  it  is 
jjlain  that  the  gourd  is  withered,  but  the  worm  at 
the  root,  that  causes  it  to  wither,  is  out  of  sight. 
He  is  wasted  by  a  soft  gentle  fire;  surely,  but  very 
slowly.  When  the  fuel  is  very  combustible,  the 
fire  needs  no  blowing,  and  that  is  his  case;  he  is 
ripe  for  ruin;  the  firoud,  and  they  that  do  wickedly, 
shall  be  stubble,  Mai.  iv.  1.  An  vniquenchable  fire 
shall  consume  him,  so  some  read  it;  and  that  is  cer- 
tainly true  of  hell-fire. 

5.  It  is  a  ruin,  not  only  to  himself,  but  to  his  fa- 
mily; It  shall  go  ill  with  him  that  is  left  in  his  taber- 
nacle, for  the  curse  shall  reach  him,  and  he  shall 
be  cut  off  perhaps  by  the  same  grievous  disease; 
there  is  an  entail  of  wrath  upon  the  family,  which 
will  destroy  both  his  heirs  and  his  inheritance,  v. 
28.  (1.)  His  posterity  will  be  rooted  out.  The 
increase  of  his  house  shall  depart;  shall  either  be 
cut  off"  by  untimely  deaths,  or  forced  to  run  their 
country.  Numerous  and  growing  families,  if  wick- 
ed and  vile,  are  soon  reduced,  dispersed,  and  extir- 
pated, by  the  judgments  of  God.  (2.)  His  estate 
will  be  sunk.  His  goods  shall  flow  away  from  his 
family  as  fast  as  ever  they  flowed  in  to  it,  when  the 
day  of  God's  wrath  comes,  for  which,  all  the  while 
his  estate  was  in  the  getting  by  fraud  and  oppression, 
he  was  treasuring  up  wrath. 

6.  It  is  a  ruin  which  will  manifestly  appear  to 
be  just  and  righteous,  and  what  he  has  brought 
upon  himself  by  his  own  wickedness;  for,  (x'.  27.) 
the  heaven  shall  reveal  his  iniquity,  that  is,  the  God 
of  heaven,  who  sees  all  the  secret  wickedness  of  the 
wicked,  will,  by  some  means  or  other,  let  all  the 
world  know  what  a  base  man  he  has  been,  that 
they  may  own  the  justice  of  God  in  all  that  is 
brought  upon  him.  The  earth  also  shall  rise  up 
against  him,  both  to  discover  his  wickedness,  and 
to  avenge  it.  The  earth  shall  disclose  her  blood, 
Isa.  xxvi.  21.  The  earth  rises'vfi  agai7ist  him,  (as 
the  stomach  rises  against  that  which  is  loathsome,) 
and  will  no  longer  keep  him :  the  Heaven  reveals 
his  iniquity,  and  therefore  will  not  receive  him: 
whither  then  must  he  go  but  to  hell?  If  the  God 
of  heaven  and  earth  be  his  enemy,  neither  heaven 
nor  earth  will  show  him  any  kindness,  but  all  the 
hosts  of  both  are,  and  will  be,  at  war  with  him. 

Lastly,  Zophar  concludes  like  an  orator;  {v.  29. ) 
This  is  the  portion  of  a  wicked  man  from  God;  it  is 
allotted  him,  it  is  designed  him  as  his  portion.  He 
will  ha\e  it  at  last,  as  a  child  hr-.s  his  portion,  and 
he  will  have  it  for  a  perpetuitv,  it  is  what  he  must 
abide  by:  this  is  the  heritage  of  his  decree  from  God; 
it  is  the  settled  rule  of  his  judgment,  and  fair  warn  ■ 
ing  is  given  of  it.  O  wicked  man,  thou  shalt  surelh 
die!  Ezek.  xxxiii.  8.  Though  impenitent  sinners 
do  not  always  fall  under  such  temporal  judgments 


100 


JOB,  XXI. 


is  are  here  described,  (therein  Zophar  was  mis- 
taken,) yet  the  wrath  of  God  abides  upon  them, 
and  they  are  made  miserable  by  spiritual  judg- 
ments, which  are  much  worse,  their  consciences 
being  either,  on  the  one  hand,  a  terror  to  them,  and 
tlien  they  are  in  continual  amazement,  or,  on  the 
.ither  hand,  seared  and  silenced,  and  then  they  are 
gi\  en  up  to  a  reprobate  sense,  and  bound  over  to 
eternal  ruin.  Never  was  any  doctrine  better  ex- 
plained, or  worse  applied,  than  this  by  Zophar,  who 
intended  by  all  this  to  prove  Job  a  hypocrite.  Let 
us  receive  the  good  explication,  and  make  a  better 
ff/iplication,  for  warning  to  ourselves,  to  stand  in 
awe,  and  not  to  sin. 

CHAP.  XXI. 

This  is  Job's  reply  lo  Zophar's  discourse ;  in  which  he 
complains  less  of  his  own  miseries  than  he  had  done  in 
his  former  discourses,  (finding  that  his  friends  were  not 
moved  by  his  complaints,  lo  pity  him  in  the  least,)  and 
comes  closer  to  the  general  question  that  was  in  dispute 
betwixt  him  and  them,  AVhelher  outward  prosperity,  and 
the  continuance  of  it,  were  a  mark  of  the  true  church, 
and  the  true  members  of  it,  so  that  the  ruin  of  a  man's 
prosperity  is  sufficient  to  prove  him  a  hypocrite,  though 
no  other  evidence  appear  against  him:  this  they  asserted, 
but  Job  denied.  1.  His  preface  here  is  designed  for 
the  moving  of  their  affections,  that  he  might  gain  their 
attention,  v.  1 .  .6.  II.  His  discourse  is  designed  for  the 
convincing  of  their  judgments,  and  the  rectifying  of  their 
mistakes.  He  owns  that  God  does  sometimes  hang  up 
a  wicked  man  as  it  were  in  chains,  tji  lerrorem — as  a 
terror  lo  others,  by  some  visible  remarkable  judgment  in 
this  life,  but  denies  that  he  always  does  so  ;  nay,  he 
maintains  that  commonly  he  does  otherwise,  suffering 
even  the  worst  of  sinners  to  live  all  their  days  in  pros- 
perity, and  to  go  out  of  the  world  without  any  visible 
mark  of  his  wrath  upon  them.  I.  He  describes  the 
great  prosperity  of  wicked  people,  v.  7..  13.  2.  He 
shows  their  great  impiety,  in  which  they  are  har- 
dened by  their  prosperity,  v.  14..  16.  3.  He  foretells 
their  ruin,  at  length,  but  afler  a  long  reprieve,  v.  17.  .21. 
4.  He  observes  a  very  great  variety  in  the  ways  of  God's 
providence  toward  men,  ej-en  toward  bad  men,  v.  22 . ,  26. 
5.'  He  overthrows  the  ground  of  tFieir  severe  censures  of 
him,  by  showing  that  destruction  is  reserved  for  the  other 
world,  and  that  the  wicked  often  escape  to  the  last  in 
this  world,  v.  27.  to  the  end.  In  this,  Job  was  clearly  in 
the  right. 

1 .  XI UT  Job  answered  and  said,  2.  Hear 

XJ  diligently  nfiy  speech ;  and  let  this 
be  your  consolations.  3.  Suffer  me  that  I 
may  speak ;  and  after  that  I  have  spoken, 
•nock  on.  4.  As  for  me,  is  my  complaint 
to  man  ?  and  if  it  ivere  so,  why  should  not 
my  spirit  be  troubled  ?  5.  Mark  me,  and 
be  astonished,  and  lay  7/our  haivl  upon  7/our 
mouth.  6.  Even  when  I  remember  I  am 
afraid,  and  trembling  taketh  hold  on  my 
flesh. 

Job  here  recommends  himself,  both  his  case  and 
his  discourse,  both  what  he  suflFered,  and  what  he 
said,  to  the  compassionate  consideration  of  his 
friends. 

1.  That  which  he  entreats  of  them  is  very  fair, 
that  they  would  suffer  him  to  speak,  {v.  3. )  and  not 
break'  in  upon  him,  as  Zophar  had  done,  in  the 
midst  of  his  discourse.  Losers,  of  all  men,  may 
have  leave  to  speak;  and  if  those  that  are  accused 
and  censured  may  not  speak  for  themselves,  they 
are  wronged  witiinut  remedy,  and  have  no  way  to 
come  at  tlieir  right.  He  entreats  that  they  would 
hear  diligently  his  s])eech,  {v.  2. )  as  those  that  were 
willing  to  understand  h.m,  and,  if  they  were  under 
a  mistake,  to  have  it  rectified;  and  that  they  would 
rnaj-k  him;  {v.  5.)  for  we  may  as  well  not  hear  as 
'jot  heed  and  observe  what  we  hear. 

?    That  which  he  urges  for  this  is  very  reason- 


I  able.     (1.)  They  came  to  comfort  him;  "Nov.," 

[  says  he,  "/er  t/iin  be  your  c-jnuolations;  (v.  2.  ,  if 

you  ha\  e  no  other  comforts  to  administer  to  i..t, 

yet  deny  me  not  this;  be  so  kind,  so  just,  as  to  t,ive 

me  a  patient  hearing,  and  that  shall  pass  for  your 

I  consolations. "     Nay,  they  could  not  know  how  to 

!  comfort  him,  if  they  would  not  give  him  leave  to 

!  open  his  case,  and  tell  his  own  stt.ry.     Or,  "  It  will 

be  a  consol  iti.in  to  yourselves,  in  the   reflection,  to 

have  dealt  tenderly  with  your  afflicted  friend,  and 

not  harshly." 

(2.)  He  would  hear  them  speak,  when  it  came 
to  t'leir  turn.  "  After  I  have  spoken,  yni  may  go  on 
■with  what  you  have  to  say,  nnd  I  will  not  hinder 
you,  though  you  go  on  to  mock  me."  Thobe  that 
engage  in  comro\  ersy,  must  count  upon  ha\  ing  hard 
words  gi\en  tliem,  and  res(  Ive  to  bear  it  p.itienUy; 
for,  generally,  they  that  mock,  will  mock  on,  w!t,it- 
ever  is  said  to  them. 

(3.)  He  hoped  tocoinince  them;  "  If  you  will  but 
give  me  a  fair  hearing,  mock  on  if  you  can,  but  I 
believe  I  shall  say  that  which  will  change  your  note, 
and  make  you  pity  me,  rather  than  mock  nie." 

(4.)  They  were  not  his  judges;  (t.  4.)  "In  my 
comfilaint  to  man?  No,  if  it  were,  I  see  it  would 
be  to  little  purpose  to  complain.  But  my  complaint 
is  to  God,  and  to  him  do  I  appeal.  Let  him  be 
Judge  between  you  and  me!  Before  him  we  stand 
upon  even  terms,  and  therefore  I  have  the  privi- 
lege of  being  heard  as  well  as  you.  If  my  complaint 
were  to  men,  my  spirit  would  be  troubled,  for  they 
would  not  regard  me,  nor  rightly  understand  me; 
but  my  complaint  is  to  God,  wlio  will  suffer  me  to 
speak,  though  you  will  not."  It  wtaild  be  sad  iH 
(iod  should  deal  as  unkindly  with  us  as  our  fiiendsl 
sometimes  do. 

(5.)  There  was  that  in  his  case,  which  was  very 
surprising  and  astonishing,  and  therefore  l)oth  need- 
ed and  deserved  tlieir  most  serious  consideration. 
It  was  not  a  common  case,  but  a  very  extraordinary 
one. 

[1.]  He  himself  was  amazed  at  it,  at  the  trou- 
bles God  had  laid  u])on  him,  and  the  censures  of 
his  friends  concerning  him;  (7».  6.)  "  ]\'hen  I  re- 
member th^Lt  terrible  day,  in  which  I  was  on  a  sud- 
den stripped  of  all  my  comforts,  that  day  in  which 
I  was  stricken  with  sore  boils;  when  I  remember 
all  the  hard  speeches  with  which  you  ha^  c  grieved 
me,  I  confess  I  am  afraid,  and  trembling  takes  hold 
of  my  flesh,  especially  when  I  compare  this  with 
the  prosperous  condition  of  many  wicked  people, 
and  the  applauses  of  their  neighbours,  with  which 
they  pass  through  the  world."  Note,  The  provi- 
dences of  God,  in  the  government  of  the  world,  are 
sometimes  very  astonishing,  even  to  wise  and  good 
men,  and  bring  them  to  their  wit's  end. 

[2.]  He  would  have  them  wonder  at  it;  {v.  5.) 
"Mark  me,  and  be  astonished.  Instead  of  expound- 
ing my  troubles,  you  should  awfully  adore  the  \\n  ■ 
searchable  mysteries  of  Providence  in  afflicting  on» 
thus,  of  whom  you  know  no  evil;  you  should  t'ere 
fore  lay  your  hand  ufton  your  mouth;  silently  v/ait 
the  issue,  and  judge  nothing  before  the  time." 
God's  way  is  in  the  sea,  and  his  jiath  in  the  great 
waters.  When  we  cannot  account  for  what  he  d  es, 
in  suflTering  the  wicked  to  pros])er,  and  the  gndly 
to  be  afflicted,  nor  fathom  the  deptli  (^f  those  pro 
ceedings,  it  becomes  us  to  sit  down  and  adniirt 
them.  U/iright  men  shall  be  astonished  at  this,  ch. 
xvii.  8.     Be  you  so. 

7.  \^^lercfore  do  the  wicked  live,  become 
old,  yea,  are  mighty  in  po\yer  ?  8.  Thoii 
seed  is  established  in  their  sight  with  them, 
and  their  offspring  before  their  ey.'s.  0 
Their  honses  are  safe  from  fear,  nc-itlur  is 


JOB,  XXL 


Ol 


the  rod  of  God  upon  them.  10.  Their  bull 
^(^ndereth,  and  faileth  not;  their  cow  calveth, 
and  casteth  not  her  calf.  11.  They  send 
Ibrth  their  little  ones  like  a  flock,  and  their 
children  dance.  12.  They  take  the  timbrel 
and  harp,  and  rejoice  at  the  sound  of  the  or- 
^an  1 3.  They  spend  their  days  in  wealth, 
an. I  in  a  moment  go  down  to  the  grave.  1 4. 
Therefore  they  say  unto  God,  Depart  from 
us  ;  for  we  desire  not  the  knowledge  of  thy 
ways.  15.  What  ^5  the  Almighty,  that  we 
s'lould  serve  him  ?  and  what  profit  should 
we  have,  if  we  pray  unto  him?  16.  Lo, 
their  good  is'not  in  their  hand :  the  counsel 
of  the  wicked  is  far  from  me. 

All  Job's  three  friends,  in  their  last  discourses, 
had  been  very  large  in  describing  the  miserable 
condition  of  a  wicked  nnan  in  this  world;  "  It  is 
true,"  says  Job,  "  remarkable  judgnrients  are  some- 
times brought  upon  notorious  sinners,  but  not  al- 
ways; for  we  have  many  instances  of  the  great  and 
lung  prosperity  of  those  that  are  openly  and  avow- 
ed: y  wicked;  though  they  are  liardened  in  their 
wickedness  by  their  prosperity,  yet  they  are  still 
buffered  to  prosper." 

I.  He  here  describes  their  prosperity,  to  the 
height,  and  breadth,  and  length,  of  it.  '•  If  this  be 
true,  as  you  say,  pray  tell  me  wherefore  do  the  wick- 
ed live?"  V.  7.  The  matter  of  fact  is  taken  for  grant- 
ed, for  we  see  instances  of  it  every  day.  1.  They  live, 
and  are  not  suddenly  cut  off  by  the  strokes  of  divine 
vengeance.  They  yet  speak,  who  have  set  their 
mouths  against  the  heavens.  Theyyetact,  whohave 
stretched  out  their  hands  against  God.  Not  only  they 
live,  that  is,  they  are  reprieved,  but  they  live  in  pros- 
fin-inj.  1  Sam.  xxv.  6.  Nay,  2.  They  become  old, 
they  have  the  honour,  satisfaction,  and  advantage, 
of  living  long,  time  enough  to  raise  their  families 
and  estates.  We  read  of  a  sinner  a  hundred  years 
old,  Isa.  Ixv.  20.  But  this  is  not  all.  3.  They  are 
m  ghty  in  power,  are  preferred  to  places  of  autho- 
rity and  trust,  and  not  only  make  a  great  figure, 
hut  betr  a  great  sway.  Vivit  imo,  et  in  senatum 
-I'fnif — He  not  only  lives,  but  walks  into  the  senate- 
hodfte.  Now  wherefore  is  it  so.''  Note,  It  is  worth 
wh  le  to  inquire  into  the  reasons  of  the  outward  pros- 
perity f'f  wicked  people.  It  is  not  because  God  has 
f  rsaken  the  earth,  because  he  does  not  see,  or  does 
iiot  hate,  or  cannot  punish,  their  wickedness;  but 
it  s  because  the  measure  of  their  iniquities  is  not 
full.  This  is  the  day  of  God's  patience,  and  in  some 
\v  y  or  other  he  makes  use  of  them,  and  their  pros- 
perity, to  serve  his  own  counsels,  while  it  ripens 
ihrm  for  ruin;  but  the  chief  reason  is,  because  he 
w  11  make  it  to  appear  there  is  another  world, 
wivch  is  the  world  of  retribution,  and  not  this. 

The  prosperity  of  the  wicked  is  here  described 
t''^  he, 

(1.)  Complete  and  consummate.  [1.]  They  are 
multiplied,  and  their  family  is  built  up,  and  thev 
have  the  satisfaction  of  seeing  it;  {y.  8.)  Their  seed 
;>  -stahlis/ied  in  their  sight.  This  is  put  first,  as  that 
which  gives  both  a  pleasant  enjoyment,  andapleas- 
ina-  pospect.  [2.]  They  are  easy  and  quiet,  v.  9. 
^Vheieas  Zophar  had  spoken  of  their  continual 
fritrhts  and  terrors.  Job  siys.  Their  houses  are  safe, 
both  from  danger  and  from  the  fear  of  it;  (y.  9. )  and 
so  fir  are  they  from  the  killing  wounds  of  God's 
sword  or  arrows,  that  they  do  not  feel  the  smart  of 
so  much  as  (he  rod  of  God  upon  them.  [3.]  They 
are  rich,  and  thrive  in  their  estates;  of  this  he  gives 
only  one  instance,  v.   10.     Their  cattle  increase, 


and  they  meet  with  no  disappointment  in  them;  not 
so  much  as  a  cow  casts  her  calf,  and  then  their 
much  must  needs  grow  more.  This  is  promised, 
Exod.  xxiii.  26.  Deut.  vii.  14.  [4.]  They  are  mer- 
ry, and  live  a  jovial  life;  {v.  11,  12.)  They  semi 
forth  their  little  ones  abroad  among  their  neigh 
bours,  like  a  flock,  in  great  numbers,  to  sport  them 
selves.  They  have  their  balls  and  music-meeting?, 
at  which  their  children  dance;  and  dancing  is  fitti.  tt 
for  children,  who  know  not  better  how  to  sper.d 
their  time,  and  whose  innocency  guards  them 
against  the  mischiefs  that  commonly  attend  it. 
Though  the  parents  are  not  so  very  youthful  and 
frolicsome  as  to  dance  themselves,  yet  they  t.;ke 
the  timbrel  and  harp;  they  pipe,  and  their  children 
dance  after  their  pipe,  and  they  know  no  gref  to 
put  their  instruments  out  of  tune,  or  to  withhold 
their  hearts  from  any  joy.  Some  observe  that  th  s 
is  an  instance  of  their  vanity,  as  well  as  of  their 
prosperity.  Here  is  none  of  that  care  taken  of  the  r 
children.'which  Abraham  took  of  his,  to  ^eacA  them 
the  way  of  the  Lord,  Gen.  xviii.  19.  Their  chil- 
dren do  not  pray,  or  say  their  catechism,  but  dance, 
and  sing,  and  rejoice  at  the  sound  of  the  orgur. 
Sensual  pleasures  are  all  the  delights  of  carnal  peo- 
ple; and  as  men  are  themselves,  so  they  breed  their 
children. 

(2.)  Continuing  and  constant;  {v.  13.)  They 
spend  their  days,  all  their  days,  in  wealth,  and  ne- 
ver know  what  it  is  to  want;  in  mirth,  and  neA  er 
know  what  sadness  means;  and  at  last,  without  any 
previous  alarms  to  frighten  them,  without  any  an- 
guish, or  agony,  in  a  moment  they  go  down  to  the 
grave,  and  there  are  no  bands  in  their  death.  If 
there  were  not  another  life  after  this,  it  were  most 
desirable  to  die  by  the  quickest,  shortest  strt  kes  i  f 
death.  Since  we  must  go  down  to  the  grave,  it 
that  were  the  furthest  of  our  journey,  we  wi  uhi 
wish  to  go  down  in  a  moment,  to  swallow  the  I);;- 
ter  pill,  and  not  chew  it. 

II.  He  shows  how  they  abuse  their  prosperity, 
and  are  confirmed  and  hardened  by  it  in  their  im- 
piety, v.  14,  15.  Their  gold  and  silver  serve  to 
steel  them,  to  make  them  more  insolent,  and  mere 
impudent,  in  their  wickedness.  Now  he  mentions 
this,  either,  1.  To  increase  the  difficulty.  It  is 
strange  that  any  wicked  people  should  prosper  thus, 
but  especially  that  those  should  prosper,  who  are 
arrived  at  such  a  pitch  of  wickedness  as  openly  to 
bid  defiance  to  God  himself,  and  tell  him  to  his  face 
that  they  care  not  for  him:  nay,  and  that  their  pros- 
perity should  be  continued,  though  they  bear  up 
themselves  upon  that,  in  their  opposition  to  God; 
with  that  weapon  they  fight  against  him,  and  yet 
are  not  disarmed.  Or,  2.  To  lessen  the  difficulty. 
God  suffers  them  to  prosper;  but  let  us  not  wonder 
at  it,  for  the  prosperity  of  fools  destroys  them,  by 
hardening  them  in  sin,  Prov.  i.  32.  Ps.  Ixxiii.  7* '9. 
See  how  light  these  prospering  sinners  make  rf 
God  and  religion,  as  if,  because  they  have  so  much 
of  this  world,  they  had  no  need  to  look  after  an- 
other. 

(1.)  See  how  ill  affected  they  are  to  God  and  re- 
ligion; thev  abandon  them,  and  cast  off  the  thoughts 
of  them.  [1-]  They  dread  the  presence  of  God, 
they  say  unto  him,  *'  Depart  from  us,  let  us  never 
be  troubled  with  the  apprehension  of  our  being  un- 
der God's  eye,  nor  be  restrained  by  the  fear  rf 
him."  Or,  They  bid  him  depart,  as  one  they  do 
not  need,  nor  have  any  occasion  to  make  use  rf. 
The  world  is  the  portion  they  have  chosen,  and 
take  up  with,  and  think  themselves  happy  in;  while 
they  ha\e  that,  they  can  live  without  God.  Justly 
will  God  say  to  them,  Depart,  (Matth.  xxv.  41.) 
who  have  bid  him  depart;  justly  does  he  now  take 
them  at  their  word.  [2.]  Thev  dread  the  know- 
ledge of  God,  and  of  his  will,  and  of  their  duty  to 


102 


JOB,  XXI. 


him;  We  desire  not  the  knowledge  of  thy  ways. 
They  that  are  resolved  not  to  walk  in  God's  ways, 
desire  not  to  know  them,  because  tlieir  knowledge 
will  be  a  continual  reproach  to  their  disobedience, 
John  iii.  19. 

(2.)  See  how  they  argue  against  God  and  reli- 
gion; {y.  15.)  What  is  the  Almighty?  Strange,  that 
ever  creatures  should  speak  so  insolently,  that  ever 
reasonable  creatures  should  speak  so  absurdly  and 
unreasonably.  The  two  great  bonds  by  which  we 
are  drawn  and  held  to  religion,  are  those  of  duty 
and  interest;  now  they  here  endea\  our  to  break 
both  these  bonds  asunder.  [1.]  They  will  not  be- 
lieve it  is  their  duty  to  be  religious.  What  is  the 
4lmighty,  that  we  should  serve  him?  Like  Pharaoh, 
(Exod.  V,  2.)  Who  is  the  Lord,  that  I  should  obey 
his  voice?  Observe  how  slightly  they  speak  of  God; 
What  is  the  Almighty?  As  if  he  were  a  mere  name, 
a  mere  cypher,  or  one  they  have  nothing  to  do  with, 
and  that  has  nothing  to  do  with  them.  How  hardly 
they  speak  of  religion!  They  call  it  aservia-,  and 
mean  a  hard  service.  Is  it  not  enc.ugh,  they  think, 
t  >  keep  up  a  fair  correspondence  with  the  Almighty, 
but  they  nmst  serve  him,  which  they  look  upon  as 
u  task  and  drudgery.  Observe  also  how  highly  they 
speak  of  themselves;  "jyiat  we  should  serve  hmi: 
we,  who  are  rich  and  mighty  in  power,  shall  we  be 
subject  and  accountable  to  himi*  No,  we  are  Lords," 
Jer.  ii.  .31.  [2.]  They  will  not  believe  it  is  tlieir 
interest  to  be  religious;  What  projit  shall  we  have 
if  we  pray  unto  him?  All  the  world  are  for  what 
thev  can  get,  and  therefore  wisdom's  merchandise 
is  neglected,  because  they  think  there  is  nothing  to 
be  g  it  by  it;  It  is  vain  to  serve  God,  Mai.  iii.  13,  14. 
Praying  will  not  pay  debts,  nor  portion  children; 
nay,  perhaps  serious  godliness  may  hinder  a  man's 
preferment,  and  expose  him  to  losses;  and  what 
then^  Is  nothing  to  be  called  gain  but  the  wealth 
and  honour  of  this  world.!*  If  we  obtain  the  favour 
of  God,  and  spiritual  and  eternal  blessings,  we  have 
no  reason  to  complain  of  losing  by  our  religion.  But 
if  we  have  not  profit  by  prayer,  it  is  our  own  fault, 
(Isa.  Iviii.  3,  4.)  it  is  because  we  ask  amiss.  Jam. 
iv.  3.  Religion  itself  is  not  a  vain  thing;  if  it  be  so 
to  us,  we  may  thank  ourselves  for  resting  in  the 
outside  of  it.  Jam.  i.  26. 

III.  He  shows  their  folly  herein,  and  utterly  dis- 
claims all  concurrence  with  them;  {v.  19.)  Lo, 
their  good  is  not  in  their  hand,  that  is.  They  did  not 
get  it  without  God,  and  therefore  they  are  very  un- 
grateful to  slight  him  thus:  it  was  not  their  might, 
nor  the  power  of  their  hand,  that  got  them  this 
wealth,  and  therefore  they  ought  to  remember  God 
who  gave  it  them.  Nor  can  they  keep  it  without 
God,  and  therefore  they  are  very  unwise  to  lose 
tlieir  interest  in  him,  and  bid  him  to  depart  from 
them.  Some  give  this  sense  of  it;  "Their  good  is 
in  their  barns  and  their  bags,  hoarded  up  there;  it 
:S  not  in  their  hand,  to  do  good  to  others  with  it; 
and  then,  what  good  does  it  do  them?"  "There- 
fore," says  Job,  ''the  counsel  of  the  wicked  is  far 
from  me.  Far  l)e  it  from  me  tluit  I  should  be  of 
their  mind,  s  ly  as  they  s^y.  do  as  they  do,  and  take 
my  measures  from  them.  Their  posterity  ap- 
prove their  sayings,  though  their  way  be  their 
folly i  (Ps.  xlix.  13.)  but  I  know  better  things  than 
to  walk  in  their  counsel." 

17.  How  oft  is  llio  candle  of  the  wicked 
put  out?  and  hovj  oft  cometli  their  destruc- 
tion upon  them?  God  distrihuteth  sorrows 
In  liis  anger.  1 8.  They  are  as  stubhle  be- 
fore the  wind,  and  as  chaff  that  the  storm 
carrieth  away.  19.  God  layeth  up  his  ini- 
quity for  his  children:  he  rewardeth  him. 


and  he  shall  know  it.  20.  His  eyes  shall 
see  his  destruction,  and  he  shall  drink  of 
the  wrath  of  the  Almighty.  21.  For  what 
pleasure  hath  he  in  his  house  after  him, 
when  the  number  of  his  months  is  cut  off 
in  the  midst?  22.  Shall  any  teach  God 
knowledge?  seeing  he  judgeth  those  that 
are  high.  23.  One  dieth  in  his  full  strength, 
being  wholly  at  ease  and  cjuiet :  24.  His 
breasts  are  full  of  milk,  and  his  bones  are 
moistened  with  marrow.  25.  And  anothei 
dieth  in  the  bitterness  of  his  soul,  and  never 
eateth  with  pleasure.  26.  TUey  shall  lie 
down  alike  in  the  dust,  and  the  worms  shall 
cover  them. 

Job  had  largely  desciibed  the  prosperity  of  wick, 
ed  people;  now,  in  these  verses, 

I.  He  opposes  this  to  what  his  friends  had  main 
tained  concerning  their  certain  ruin  in  this  life. 
"Tell  me  how  often  do  you  see  the  candle  of  the 
wicked  put  out.  Do  ycu  not  as  often  see  it  burn 
down  to  the  socket,  until  it  goes  out  of  itself?  v.  17. 
How  often  do  you  see  their  destruction  con>e  upon 
them,  or  God  distributing  sorrows  in  his  anger 
among  themi'  Do  you  not  as  often  see  their  mirth 
and  prosperity  continuing  to  the  last?"  Perhaps 
there  are  as  many  instances  of  notorious  sinners 
ending  their  days  in  pomp,  as  ending  them  in  mise- 
ry; which  observation  is  sufficient  to  invalidate 
their  arguments  against  Job,  and  to  show  that  no 
certain  judgment  can  be  made  of  men's  character 
by  their  outward  condition. 

II.  He  reconciles  this  to  the  holiness  and  justice 
of  God;  though  wicked  people  pr<  sper  thus  all 
their  days,  yet  we  are  not  theref<n-e  to  think  th.it 
God  will  let  their  wickedness  always  go  unpunish- 
ed.    No, 

1.  Even  while  they  prosper  thus,  they  are  as 
stubble  and  chaff  before  the  stormy  wind,  v.  18. 
They  are  light  and  worthless,  and  of  no  account 
either  with  God,  or  with  wise  and  good  men.  They 
are  fitted  to  destruction,  and  continually  lie  exposed 
to  it;  and,  in  the  height  of  tlieir  pomp  and  power, 
there  is  but  a  step  between  them  and  ruin. 

2.  Though  they  spend  all  their  days  in  wealth, 
God  is  laying  up  their  iniquity  for  their  children, 
{v.  19.)  and  he  will  visit  it  upon  their  postei-ity 
when  they  are  gone.  The  oppressor  lays  up  his 
goods  for  his  children,  to  make  them  gentlemen, 
but  God  lays  up  his  iniquity  for  them,  to  make 
them  beggars:  he  keeps  an  exact  account  of  the  fa- 
thers' sins;  seals  them  up  among  his  trrasurrs, 
(Deut.  xxxii.  34.)  and  will  justly  punish  the  chil- 
dren, while  the  riches,  to  which  the  curse  cleaves, 
are  found  as  assets  in  their  hands. 

3.  Though  they  prosper  in  this  woMd,  yet  they 
shall  be  reckoned  with  in  another  world.  Ciod  re- 
wards him  according  to  his  deeds  at  last,  {v.  19.) 
though  tlie  sentence  passed  against  his  evil  works 
be  not  executed  si)eedily.  Perhaps  he  may  not  now 
be  made  to  fear  the  wrath  to  come,  but  he  may 
flatter  himself  with  hopes  that  he  shall  have  peace, 
tlwough  he  go  on;  but  he  shall  be  made  to  feel  it  ii. 
the  day  of  the  revelation  of  the  riftliteous  judgment 
of  God.  He  shall  know  it;  {v.  19.)  His  eyes  shall 
see  his  destruction,  which  he  would  not  be  persn;idcd 
to  believe.  They  will  not  see,  but  they  shall  see, 
Isa.  xxvi.  11.  The  eyes  that  have  been  wilfully 
shut  against  tlie  grace  of  Ciod,  shall  he  o])ened  to 
see  his  destruction.  He  shall  drink  of  the  wrath  of 
the  Almighty;  that  shall  he  the  portion  rf  his  cup. 
Compare  Ps.  xi.  6.  with  Rev.  xi\'.  10.  The  misery 


JOB,  XXI. 


103 


of  damned  sinners  is  here  set  forth  in  a  few  words, 
but  they  are  very  terrible  ones:  they  he  under  the 
wrath  of  an  Almigh  ly  God,  who,  in  their  desti'uc- 
tion,  both  shows  his  wrath,  and  makes  known  his 
power. 

If  this  will  be  his  condition  in  the  other  world, 
what  good  will  his  prosperity  in  this  world  do  him? 
(y.  21.)  What  pleasure  has  he  in  his  house  after 
him?  Our  Saviour  has  let  us  know  how  little  plea- 
sure the  rich  man  in  hell  had  in  his  house  after  him, 
when  the  remembrance  of  the  good  things  he  had 
received  in  his  life-time,  would  not  cool  his  tongue, 
but  added  much  to  his  misery,  as  did  also  the  sor- 
row he  was  in,  lest  his  five  brethren,  whom  he  left 
in  his  house  after  him,  should  follow  him  to  that 
place  of  torment,  Luke  xvi.  25- -28.  So  little  will 
the  gain  of  the  world  profit  him  that  has  lost  his  soul. 

Ili.  He  resolves  this  difference,  which  Providence 
makes  between  one  wicked  man  and  another,  into  the 
wisdom  and  sovereignty  of  (iod;  {v.  22.)  Shall  any 
tiretend  to  teach  God  knowledge?  Dare  we  arraign 
God's  proceedings,  or  blame  his  conduct?  Shall  we 
take  upon  us  to  tell  God  how  he  should  govern  the 
world,  what  sinner  he  should  spare,  and  what  he 
should  punish?  He  has  both  authority  and  ability 
to  judge  those  that  are  high.  Angels  in  heaven, 
princes  and  magistrates  on  earth,  are  accountable 
to  God,  and  must  receive  their  doom  from  him; 
he  manages  them,  and  makes  what  use  he  pleases 
of  them:  shall  he  then  be  accountable  to  us,  or  re- 
ceive advice  from  us?  He  is  the  Judge  of  all  the 
earth,  and  tlierefore,  no  doubt,  he  shall  do  right, 
(Gen.  xviii.  25.  Rom.  iii.  6.)  and  those  prf  ceedings 
of  his  providence  which  seem  to  contradict  one 
another,  he  can  make,  not  only  mutually  to  agree, 
but  iointly  to  serve  his  own  purposes. 

The  little  difference  there  is  between  one  wicked 
man's  dying  impenitent  in  peace  and  pomp,  and 
another  wicked  man's  dying  so  in  pain  and  misery, 
when  both  will,  at  Jast,  meet  in  hell,  he  illustrates 
by  the  little  difference  there  is  between  one  man's 
dying  suddenly  and  another's  dying  slowly,  when 
they  will  both  meet  shortly  in  the  grave.  So  \  ast 
is  the  disproportion  between  time  and  eternity,  that, 
if  hell  be  the  fot  of  every  sinner  at  last,  it  makes 
little  difference,  if  one  goes  singing  thither,  and 
another  sighing.     See, 

1.  How  various  the  circumstances  of  people's 
dying  are.  There  is  one  way  into  the  world,  we 
say,  but  many  f^ut;  yet,  as  some  are  born  by  quick 
and  easy  labour,  others  by  that  which  is  hard  and 
lingering,  so  dying  is  to  some  much  more  terrible 
than  to  others;  and,  since  the  death  of  the  body  is 
the  birth  of  the  soul  into  another  world,  death-bed 
agonies  may  not  unfitly  be  compared  to  child-bed 
tliroes.     Observe  the  difference. 

(1.)  One  dies  suddenly,  in  his  full  strength,  not 
weakened  by  age  or  sickness,  {v.  23.)  being  wholly 
at  ease  and  quiet,  under  no  apprehension  at  all  of 
the  approach  of  death,  nor  in  any  fear  of  it;  but, 
on  the  contrary,  because  his  breasts  are  full  of  milk, 
and  his  bones  moistened  with  marrow,  {v.  24.)  that 
is,  he  is  healthful  and  vigorous,  and  of  a  good  con- 
stitution, (like  a  milch-cow  that  is  fat  and  in  good 
liking,)  he  counts  upon  nothing  but  to  live  many 
years  in  mirth  and  pleasure.  Thus  fair  does  he  bid 
For  life,  and  yet  he  is  cut  off  in  a  moment  by  the 
stroke  of  death.  Note,  It  is  a  common  thing  for 
persons  to  be  taken  away  by  death  when  they  are 
in  tlieir  full  strength,  in  the  highest  degree  of  health, 
when  they  least  expect  death,  and  think  themselves 
best  armed  against  it,  and  are  ready  not  only  to  set 
death  at  a  distance,  but  to  set  it  at  defiance.  Let  us 
therefore  never  be  secure;  for  we  have  known 
many  well  and  dead  in  the  same  week,  the  same 
day,  the  same  hour,  nay,  perhaps,  the  same  minute, 
Let  us  therefore  be  always  ready 


(2. )  Another  dies  slowly,  and  with  a  great  deal 
of  previous  pain  and  misery,  (t.  2j.)  In  the  bitter- 
ness of  his  soul,  such  as  poor  Job  was  himself  now 
in,  and  never  eats  with  pleasure,  has  no  appetite  to 
his  food,  nor  any  relish  of  it,  through  sickness,  or 
age,  or  sorrow  ot'  mind.  What  great  reason  ha\e 
those  to  be  thankful,  that  are  in  health,  and  alvva\s 
eat  with  pleasure!  And  what  little  reason  have 
they  to  complain,  who  sometimes  do  not  eat  thus 
when  they  hear  of  many  that  never  do! 

2.  How  undiscernible  this  difference  is  in  the 
grave:  as  rich  and  poor,  so  healthful  and  unhealtli- 
ful,  meet  there;  {v.  26.)  7'heij  shall  lie  donvn  ali^e 
in  the  dunt,  and  the  worms  shall  cover  them,  and 
feed  sweetly  en  them.  Thus,  if  one  wicked  man 
die  in  a  palace,  and  another  in  a  dungeon,  they  will 
meet  in  the  congregation  of  the  dead  and  damned, 
and  the  worm  that  dies  not,  and  the  fire  that  is  n(X 
quenched,  will  be  the  same  to  them,  which  makes 
those  differences  inconsiderable,  and  not  wortli  pei- 
plexing  ourseh  es  about. 

27.  Behoid,  I  know  your  thoughts,  and 
the  devices  which  ye  wrongfully  iniagino 
against  me.  28.  For  ye  say,  Where  is  the 
house  of  the  prince?  and  where  are  the 
dwelling-places  of  the  wicked?  29.  Have 
ye  not  asked  them  that  go  by  the  way  ?  and 
do  ye  not  know  their  tokens,  30.  That 
the  wicked  is  reserved  to  the  day  of  de 
struction  ?  they  shall  be  brought  forth  lo 
the  day  of  wrath.  31.  Who  shall  declare 
his  way  to  his  face?  and  who  shall  repa}- 
him  what  he  hath  done  ?  32.  Yet  shall  hv 
be  brought  to  the  grave,  and  shall  remain 
in  the  tomb.  33.  The  clods  of  the  valK^}' 
shall  be  sweet  unto  him,  and  every  nidn 
shall  draw  after  him,  as  there  are  innume- 
rable before  him.  34.  How  then  comfort 
ye  me  in  vain,  seeing  in  your  answers  there 
remaineth  falsehood  ? 

In  these  \  erses, 

I.  Job  opposes  the  opinion  of  his  friends,  which 
he  saw  they  still  adhered  to,  That  the  wicked  are 
sure  to  fall  into  such  visible  and  remarkable  ruin, 
as  Job  was  now  fallen  into,  and  none  but  the  wicked; 
upon  which  principle,  they  condemned  Job  as  a 
wicked  man.  "I  know  your  thoughts,"  says  Job, 
{v.  27.)  «'  I  know  you  will  not  agree  with  me;  for 
your  judgments  are  tinctured  and  biassed  by  your 
piques  and  prejudices  against  me,  and  the  devices 
which  you  wningfuUy  imagine  against  my  comfort 
and  honour:  and  how  can  such  men  be  cf  nvinced?" 

Job's  friends  were  ready  to  say,  in  answer  to  his 
discourse  concerning  the  prosperity  of  the  wicked, 
"  Where  is  the  house  of  the  prince?\v.  28.)  Where 
is  Job's  house,  or  the  house  of  his  eldest  son,  in 
which  his  children  were  feasting:  inquire  into  the 
circumstances  of  Job's  house  and  family,  and  then 
ask.  Where  are  the  dzvelling-filaces  of  the  wickid? 
and  compare  them  together,  and  you  will  soon  see 
that  Job's  house  is  in  the  same  predicament  with 
the  houses  of  tyrants  and  oppressors,  and  may 
therefore  conclude  that  doubtless  he  was  such  a 
one." 

II.  He  lays  down  his  own  judgment  to  the  con- 
trary, and,  for  proof  of  it,  appeals  to  the  sentiments 
and  observations  of  all  mankind.  So  confident  is  he 
that  he  is  in  the  right,  that  he  is  willing  to  refer  the 
cause  to  the  next  man  that  comes  by;  (v.  29.) 
"  Have  ye  not  asked  them  that  go  by  the  way — any 


104 


JOB,  XXII. 


indifferent  pei*son,  any  that  will  answer  jou?  I  say 
not,  as  Eliphaz,  (cA.  v.  1.)  To  which  of  the  Saints 
— I  ask,  To  which  of  the  children  of  men,  will  you 
turn?  Turn  to  which  you  will,  you  will  find  them 
all  of  my  mind;  that  the  punishment  of  sinners  is 
designed  more  for  the  other  world  than  for  this, 
according  to  the  prophecy  of  Enoch,  the  seventh 
from  Adam,  Jude  14.  Do  you  not  know  the  tokens 
of  this  truth,  which  all  that  have  made  any  obser- 
vations upon  the  providences  of  God  concerning 
mankind  in  this  world,  can  furnish  you  with?" 

Now  what  is  it  that  Job  here  asserts?  Two 
things, 

1.  That  impenitent  sinners  will  certainly  be 
punished  in  the  other  world,  and,  usually,  their 
punishment  is  put  off  until  then. 

2.  That  therefore  we  are  not  to  think  it  strange 
if  they  prosper  greatly  in  this  world,  and  fall  under 
no  visible  token  of  God's  wrath.  Therefore  they 
are  spared  now,  because  they  are  to  be  punished 
then;  therefore  the  workers  of  iniquity  flourish, 
that  they  may  be  destroyed  for  ever,  Ps.  xcii.  7. 
The  sinner  is  here  supposed, 

(1.)  To  live  in  a  great  deal  of  power,  so  as  to  be 
not  only  the  terror  of  the  mighty  in  the  land  of  the 
Irving,  (Ezek.  xxxii.  27.)  but  the  terror  of  the 
wise  and  good  too,  whom  he  keeps  in  such  awe, 
that  none  dares  declare  his  way  to  his  face,  -v.  31. 
None  will  take  the  liberty  to  I'eprove  him,  to  tell 
him  of  the  wickedness  ot  his  way,  and  what  will 
be  in  the  end  thereof;  so  that  he  sins  securely,  and 
is  not  made  to  know  either  shame  or  fear.  The 
prosperity  of  fools  destroys  them,  by  setting  them 
(in  their  own  conceit)  above  reproofs,  by  which 
they  might  be  brought  to  that  repentance  which 
aloiie  will  prevent  their  ruin.  Those  are  marked 
for  destruction  that  are  let  alone  in  sin,  Hos.  iv.  17. 
And  if  none  dares  declare  his  way  to  his  face,  much 
less  dare  any  repay  him  what  he  has  done,  and 
make  him  refund  there  where  he  has  done  wrong. 
He  is  one  of  those  great  flies  which  break  through 
the  cobwebs  ot  the  law,  that  hold  only  the  little 
ones:  this  imboldens  sinners  in  their  sinful  ways, 
that  they  can  brow-beat  justice,  and  make  it  afraid 
to  meddle  with  them.  But  there  is  a  day  coming 
when  those  shall  be  told  of  their  faults,  who  now 
would  not  bear  to  hear  of  them;  shall  have  their 
sins  set  in  order  before  them,  and  their  way  de- 
clared to  their  face,  to  their  everlasting  confusion, 
who  would  not  have  it  done  here,  to  their  convic- 
tion; when  those  who  would  not  repay  the  wrongs 
thev  had  done,  shall  have  them  repaid  to  them. 

('2.)  To  die,  and  be  buried  in  a  great  deal  of 
])omp  and  magnificence,  u.  52,  33.  There  is  no 
remedy;  he  must  die;  that  is  the  lot  of  all  men; 
but  every  thing  vou  can  think  of  shall  be  done  to 
t  ;ke  off  the  reproach  of  death.  [1.]  He  shall  have 
a  splendid  funeral;  a  poor  thing  for  any  man  to  be 
proud  of  the  prospect  of;  yet  with  some  it  passes  for 
a  mighty  thhig:  well,  he  shall  be  brought  unto  the 
grave  in  state,  surrounded  with  all  the  honours  of 
the  Heralds'  office,  and  all  the  respect  his  friends 
can  then  pay  to  his  remains:  the  rich  man  died,  and 
was  burird,  but  no  mention  is  made  of  the  poor 
man's  burial,  Luke  xvi.  22.  [2.]  He  shall  have  a 
statelv  monument  erected  over  him,  he  shall  re- 
main in  the  tomb  with  a  Hie  jacet — Here  lies,  over 
him,  and  a  large  encomium.  Perhaps  it  is  meant 
of  the  embalming  of  his  body,  to  preserve  it,  which 
was  a  piece  of  honour  anciently  done  by  the  Egyp- 
tians to  their  great  men.  He  shall  watch  in  the 
tomb,  so  the  word  is,  shall  abide  solitary  and  quiet 
there,  as  a  watchman  in  his  tower.  [3.^  The  clods 
of  the  vallei/  shall  be  sweet  to  him;  there  shall  be 
as  much  doiie  as  can  be  with  rich  odours,  to  take 
tiff  the  noisomcness  of  the  grave,  as  by  lamps  to  set 
ttside  the  darkness  of  it,  which  perhaps  was  refer- 


red to  in  the  foregoing  phrase  of  watching  in  the 
tomb:  but  it  is  all  a  jest;  what  is  the  light,  or  what 
the  perfume,  to  a  man  that  is  dead?  [4.  J  It  shall 
be  alleged,  for  the  lessening  of  the  disgrace  of  death, 
that  it  is  the  common  lot;  he  has  only  yielded  to  fate, 
and  every  man  shall  draw  after  him,  as  there  are  in- 
numerable before  him.  Note,  Death  is  the  way  of  all 
the  earth:  when  we  are  to  cross  that  darksome  %al- 
ley,  we  must  consider.  First,  That  there  are  innu- 
merable before  us,  it  is  a  tracked  road;  which  may 
help  to  take  off  the  terror  of  it.  To  die  is  ire  ad 
filures — to  go  to  the  great  majority.  Secondly, 
That  every  man  shall  draw  after  us:  as  there  is  a 
plain  track  before,  so  there  is  a  long  train  behind; 
we  are  neither  the  first,  nor  the  last,  that  pass 
through  that  dark  entry.  Every  one  must  go  in 
his  own  order,  the  order  appointed  of  God. 

Lastly,  From  all  this  Job  infers  the  impertinency 
of  their  discourses,  v.  34.  1.  Their  foundation  is 
rotten,  and  they  went  upon  a  wrong  hypothesis; 
"In  your  answers  there  remaineth  falsehood;  what 
you  have  said,  stands  not  only  unproved  but  dis 
proved,  and  lies  under  such  an  imputation  of  false 
hood  as  you  cannot  clear  it  from."  2.  Their  build-- 
ing  was  therefore  weak  and  tottering:  "You  com 
fort  me  in  vain.  All  you  have  said,  gives  me  no 
relief;  you  tell  me  that  I  shall  prosper  again,  if  I 
turn  to  God,  but  you  go  upon  this  presumption, 
that  piety  shall  certainly  be  crowned  with  prospe- 
rity, which  is  false;  and  therefore  how  can  your  in- 
ference from  it  yield  me  any  comfort''"  Note, 
Where  there  is  not  truth,  there  is  little  comfort  to 
be  expected. 

CHAP.  XXII. 

Eliphaz  here  leads  on  a  third  attack  upon  poor  Job,  in 
which  Bildad  followed  him,  but  Zophar  drew  back,  and 
quitted  the  field.  It  was  one  of  the  unhappinesses  of  Job, 
as  it  is  of  many  an  honest  man,  to  be  misunderstood  by 
his  friends.  He  had  spoken  of  tWe  prosperity  of  wicked 
men  in  this  world  as  a  mystery  of  Providence,  but  they 
took  it  for  a  reflection  upon  Providence,  as  countenancing 
their  wickedness;  and  they  reproached  him  accordintrly. 
In  this  chapter,  I.  Eliphaz  checks  him  for  his  complain's 
of  God,  and  of  his  dealings  with  him,  as  if  he  thousjht 
God  had  done  him  wron<r,  v.  2..  4.  II.  He  charpes 
him  with  many  hifjh  crimes  and  misdemeanors,  for 
which  he  supposes  God  was  now  punishinsr  him.  1.  Op- 
pression and  injustice,  V.  5  ..  11.  2.  Atheism  and  infi- 
delity, v.  12..  14.  III.  He  compared  his  case  to  that 
of  the  old  world,  V.  15..  20.  IV.  He  gives  him  very 
pood  counsel,  assuring  him  thai,  if  he  would  take  it, 
God  would  return  in  mercy  to  him,  and  he  should  return 
to  his  former  prosperity,  v.  21 . .  30. 

l.rr^HEN  Eliphaz    the   Temanite   an- 

1  swered  and  said,  2.  Can  a  man  be 
profitable  unto  God,  as  he  that  is  wise  may 
be  profitable  vinto  himself?  3.  h  it  any 
pleasure  to  the  Almighty  that  thou  art 
righteous?  or  is  it  gain  to  him  tliat  thou 
makest  thy  ways  perfect?  4.  Will  he  re- 
prove thee  for  fear  of  thee?  will  he  enter 
with  thee  into  judgment? 

Eliphaz  here  insinuates  that,  because  Job  com- 
plained so  much  of  his  afHictions,  he  thought  Ciod 
was  unjust  in  afflicting  him;  but  it  was  a  strained 
innuendo.  Job  was  far  from  thinking  so.  What 
Eliphaz  says  here,  is  therefore  unjustly  applied  to 
Job,  but  in  itself  it  is  very  true  and  good; 

1.  That  when  God  does  us  good,  it  is  not  because 
he  is  indebted  to  us;  if  he  were,  there  might  be 
some  colour  to  say,  when  he  afflicts  us,  "  He  docs 
not  deal  fairly  with  us:"  but  whoever  pretends  that 
he  has  by  any  meritorious  action  made  (Jod  his 
Debtor,  let  him  prove  this  debt,  and  he  EJiall  be 


JOB,  XXII. 


105 


sure  not  to  lose  it;  (Rom.  xi.  35.)  pyTio  has  given  Co 
him,  and  it  shall  be  recomfiensed  to  him  again?  But 
Eliphaz  here  shows  that  the  righteousness  and  per- 
fection of  the  best  man  in  the  world  are  no  real 
benefit  or  advantage  to  God,  and  therefore  cannot 
be  thought  to  merit  any  thing  from  him. 

(1.)  Man's  piety  is  no  profit  to  God,  no  gain,  v. 
1,  2.  If  we  could  by  any  thing  merit  from  God,  it 
would  be  by  our  piety,  our  being  righteous,  and 
making  our  way  perfect.  If  that  will  not  merit, 
surely  nothing  else  will :  if  a  man  cannot  make  God 
his  debtor  by  his  godliness,  and  honesty,  and  obe- 
dience to  his  laws,  much  less  can  he  by  his  wit,  and 
learning,  and  worldly  policy.  Now  E'.iphaz  here 
isks,  whether  any  man  can  possibly  be  profitable 
to  God?  It  is  certain  that  man  cannot.  By  no 
means:  he  that  is  wise  may  be  firojitable  to  himself. 
No>e,  Our  wisdom  and  piety  are  that  by  which  we 
ourselves  are,  and  are  likely  to  be,  great  gainers. 
Wisdom  is  /irof  table  to  direct,  Eccl.  x.  10.  God- 
liness is  profitable  to  all  things,  1  Tim.  iv.  8.  If 
thou  be  wise,  thou  shalt  be  wise  for  thyself,  Pro\ . 
ix.  12.  The  gains  of  religion  are  infinitely  greater 
than  the  losses  of  it,  and  so  it  will  appear  when  they 
are  balanced.  But  can  a  man  be  thus  profitable  to 
God?  No,  for  such  is  the  perfection  of  God,  that 
he  cannot  receive  any  benefit  or  advantage  by  men; 
what  can  be  added  to  that  which  is  infinite?  And 
such  is  the  weakness  and  imperfection  of  man,  that 
he  cannot  offer  any  benefit  or  advantage  to  God. 
Can  the  light  of  a  candle  be  profitable  to  the  sun, 
or  the  drop  of  the  bucket  to  the  ocean?  He  that  is 
wise,  is  profitable  to  himself,  for  his  own  direction 
and  defence,  liis  own  credit  and  comfort;  he  can 
with  his  wisdom  entertain  himself,  and  enrich  him- 
6elf;  but  can  he  so  be  profitable  to  God?  No; 
God  needs  not  us  or  our  services.  We  are  undone, 
for  e\  er  undone,  without  him;  but  he  is  happy,  for 
ever  h  ippy,  without  us.  Is  it  any  gain  to  him,  any 
real  addition  to  his  glory  or  wealth,  if  we  make  our 
way  perfect?  Suppose  it  were  absolutely  perfect, 
yet  what  is  God  the  better?  Much  less  when  it  is 
so  far  short  of  Iieing  perfect. 

(2.)  It  is  no  /ileasure  to  h.\m.  God  has  indeed 
expressed  himself  in  his  word  well  pleased  with  the 
righteous;  his  countenance  beholds  them,  and  his 
delight  is  in  them  and  their  prayers;  but  all  that 
adds  nothing  to  the  infinite  satisfaction  and  com- 
placency which  the  Eternal  Mind  has  in  itself 
God  can  enjoy  himself  without  us,  though  we  could 
have  but  little  enjoyment  nf  ourselves  without  our 
friends.  This  magnifies  his  condescension,  in  that, 
though  our  services  be  no  real  profit  or  pleasure  to 
him,  vet  he  invites,  encourages,  and  accepts,  them. 
2.  That,  when  God  restrains  or  rebukes  us,  it  is 
not  because  he  is  in  danger  fronn  us,  or  jealous  of  us; 
{v.  4. )  "  Will  he  refirove  thee  for  fear  of  thee,  and 
take  thee  down  from  thy  prosperity,  lest  thou 
shouldest  grow  too  great  for  him ;  as  princes  some- 
times have  thought  it  a  piece  of  policy  to  curb  the 
growing  greatness  of  a  subject,  lest  he  should  be- 
came formidable?"  Satan  indeed  suggested  to  our 
first  parents,  that  God  forbade  them  the  tree  of 
knowledge,  for  fear  of  them,  lest  they  should  be  as 
!c:nds,  and  so  become  rivals  with  him;  but  it  was  a 
base  insinuation.  God  rebukes  the  good  because 
he  loves  them,  but  he  never  rebukes  the  great  be- 
cause he  fears  them.  He  does  not  enter  into  judg- 
ment with  men,  that  is,  pick  a  quarrel  with  them, 
and  seek  occasi-^n  against  them,  through  fear  they 
should  eclipse  his  honour,  or  endanger  his  interest. 
Magistrates  punish  offenders  for  fear  of  them;  Pha- 
raoh oppressed  Israel  because  he  feared  them;  it 
was  for  fear  that  Herod  slew  the  children  of  Beth- 
lehem; that  the  Jews  persecuted  Christ  and  his 
apostles.  But  God  does  not,  as  they  did,  pervert 
justice  for  fear  'f  any.     See  ch.  xxxvi.  5««8. 

Vol  hi.— O 


5.  Is  not  thy  wickedness  great?  and  thine 
iniquities  infinite?  6.  For  thou  hast  taken 
a  pledge  from  thy  brother  for  nought,  and 
stripped  the  naked  of  their  clothing.  7. 
Thou  hast  not  given  water  to  tlie  weary  to 
drink,  and  thou  hast  withholden  bread  from 
the  hungry.  8.  But  as  for  the  mighty  man, 
he  had  the  earth ;  and  the  honourable  man 
dwelt  in  it.  9.  Thou  hast  sent  widows 
away  empty ;  and  the  arms  of  the  fatherless 
have  been  broken :  1 0.  Therefore  snares 
are  round  about  thee,  and  sudden  fear  trou- 
bleth  thee ;  11 .  Or  darkness,  that  thou 
canst  not  see ;  and  abundance  of  waters 
cover  thee.  1 2.  Is  not  God  in  the  height 
of  heaven?  and,  behold,  the  height  of  the 
stars,  how  high  they  are!  13.  And  thou 
sayest.  How  doth  God  know?  can  he  judge 
through  the  dark  cloud?  14.  Thickdouds 
are  a  covering  to  him,  that  he  seeth  not ; 
and  he  walketh  in  the  circuit  of  heaven. 

Eliphaz  and  his  companions  had  condemned  Job, 
in  general,  as  a  wicked  man  and  a  hypocrite;  but 
none  of  them  had  descended  to  particulars,  nor 
drawn  up  any  articles  of  impeachment  against  him, 
until  Eliphaz  did  it  here,  where  he  positively  and 
expressly  charges  him  with  many  high  crimes  and 
misdemeanors,  which  if  he  had  really  been  guilty 
of,  they  might  well  have  justified  themselves  in 
their  harsh  censures  of  him.     "Come,"  (says  Eli- 
phaz,) "we  ha\e  been  too  tender  of  Job,  and  afraid 
of  grie\  ing  him,  which  has  but  confirmed  him  in 
his  self-justification;  it  is  high  time  to  deal  plainly 
with  him;  we  have  condemned  him  by  parables, 
but  that  does  not  answer  the  end;  he  is  not  prevail- 
ed with  to  condemn    hiniself;  we  must  therefore 
plainly  tell  him,    ''Thou  art  the  man,  the  tyrant, 
the  oppressor,  the  atheist,  we  have  been  speaking 
of  all  this  while.   Is  not  thy  wickedness  great?  Cer- 
tainly it  is,  or  else  tliy  troubles  would  not  be  so 
great.     I  appeal  to  thyself,  and  thy  own  conscience; 
are  not  thine  iniquities  infinite,  both  in  number  and 
heinousness?"     Strictly   taken,   nothing  is  infinite 
but  God:  but  he  means'  this,  that  his  sins  were  more 
than   could  be  counted;    and  more  heinous  than 
could  be  conceived.     Sin,  being  committed  against 
Infinite  Majesty,  has  in  it  a  kind  of  infinite  malignity. 
But  when  Eliphaz  charges  Job  thus  high,  and  ven- 
tures to  f'escend  to  particulars  too,  laying  to  his 
charge  that  which  he  knew  not,  we  may  take  occa- 
sion hence,    1.  To  be  angry  at  those  who  unjustly 
censure  and  condemn  their  brethren.     For  aught  I 
know,  Eliphaz,  in  accusing  Job  falsely,  as  he  does 
here,  was  guilty  of  as  great  a  sin,  and  as  great  a 
wrong  to  Job,  as  the  Sabeans  and  Chaldeans  that 
robbed  him;  for  a  man's  good  name  is  more  pre- 
cious and  valuable  than  his  wealth.     It  is  against  all 
the  laws  of  justice,  charity,  and  friendship,  either 
to  raise,  or  receive,  calumnies,  jealousies,  and  evil 
surmises,  concerning  others;  and  it  is  the  more  base 
and  disingenuous,  if  we  thus  vex  those  that  are  in 
distress,  and  add  to  their  affliction.     Eliphaz  could 
produce  no  instances  of  Job's  guilt  in  any  of  the  par- 
ticulars that  fol'ow  here,  biit   seems  resolved  to 
calumniate  boldly,  and  throw  all  the  reproach  he 
could  on  Job,  not  doubting  but  that  some  would 
clea\  e  to  him.     2.  To  pitv  those  who  are  thus  cen- 
sured and  condemned.     Innocency  itself  will  be  no 
security  against  a  false  and  foul  tongue.    Job,  whom 
God  himself  praised  as  the  best  man  in  the  world. 


106 


JOB,  XXII. 


IS  here  represented  by  one  of  his  friends,  and  him  a 
wise  and  good  man  too,  as  one  of  the  greatest  villains 
in  nature.  Let  us  not  think  it  strange,  if  at  any 
time  we  be  thus  blackened,  but  learn  how  to  pass 
hy  evil  report  as  well  as  good,  and  commit  our 
( ause,  as  Job  did,  to  him  that  judgeth  righteously. 

Let  us  see  the  particular  articles  of  this  charge. 

L  He  charges  him  with  oppression  and  injustice; 
that,  when  he  was  in  prosperity,  he  not  only  did  no 
good  with  his  wealth  and  power,  but  did  a  great 
deal  of  hurt  with  it.  This  was  utterly  false,  as  ap- 
pears by  the  account  Job  gives  of  himself,  {ch. 
xxix,  12,  8cc.)  and  the  character  God  gave  of  him, 
th.  i.     And  yet, 

1.  Eliphaz  branches  out  this  charge  into  divers 
particulars,  with  as  much  assurance  as  if  he  could 
call  witnesses  to  prove  upon  oath  every  article  of  it. 
He  tells  him,  (1.)  That  he  had  been  cruel  and  un- 
merciful to  the  poor.  As  a  magistrate,  he  ought  to 
have  protected  them,  and  seen  them  provided  for; 
but  Eliphaz  suspects  that  he  never  did  them  any 
kindness,  but  all  the  mischief  his  power  enabled 
him  to  do;  that,  for  an  inconsiderable  debt,  he  de- 
manded, and  carried  away  by  violence,  a  pawn  of 
great  value,  even  from  his  brother,  whose  honesty 
and  sufficiency  he  could  not  but  know;  [y.  6. )  Thou 
hast  taken  a  pledge  from  thy  brother  for  naught; 
or,  as  the  LXX  read  it.  Thou  hast  taken  thy  bre- 
thren for  pledges,  and  that  for  naught;  imprisoned 
them,  enslaved  them,  because  they  had  nothing  to 
pay;  that  he  had  taken  the  very  clothes  of  his  in- 
solvent tenants  and  debtors,  so  that  he  had  stripped 
them  naked,  and  left  them  so:  the  law  of.  Moses 
forbade  this;  (Exod.  xxii.  26.  Deut.  xxiv.  13.)  that 
he  had  not  been  charitable  to  the  poor,  no  not  to 
poor  travellers,  and  poor  widows.  "Thou  hast  not 
given  so  much  as  a  cup  of  cold  water,  (which 
would  have  cost  thee  nothing,)  to  the  weary  to 
drink,  when  he  begged  for  it,  {v.  7.)  and  was  ready 
to  perish  for  want  of  it:  nay,  thou  hast  withholden 
bread  from  the  hungry  in  their  extremity,  hast  not 
only  not  given  it,  but  hast  forbidden  the  giving  of  it; 
which  is  withholding  good  from  those  to  ivhom  it  is 
really  due,  Prov.  iii.  27.  Poof  widows,  who,  while 
their  husbands  were  living,  troubled  nobody,  but 
now  weie  forced  to  seek  relief,  thou  hast  sent  away 
empty  from  thy  doors  with  a  sad  heart,  v.  9.  Those 
who  came  to  thee  for  justice,  thou  didst  send  away 
unheard,  unhelped;  nay,  though  they  came  to  thee 
full,  thou  didst  squeeze  them,  and  send  them  away 
empty;  and,  worst  of  all,  the  arms  of  tlie  fatherless 
have  been  broken;  those  that  could  help  them- 
selves but  little,  thou  hast  (juite  disabled  to  help 
themselves."  This,  which  is  the  blackest  part  of 
the  charge,  is  but  insinuated;  The  arms  of  the  fa- 
therless have  been  broken:  he  does  not  say,  "  Thou 
hast  broken  them,"  but  he  would  have  it  understood 
so:  and,  if  they  be  broken,  and  those  who  have 
power  do  not  relieve  them,  they  are  chargeable 
with  it.  "  They  have  been  broken  by  those  under 
thee,  and  thou  hast  connived  at  it,  which  brings 
thee  under  the  guilt. "  (2. )  That  he  had  been  par- 
tial to  the  rich  and  great;  {v.  8.)  "M  for  the 
mighty  man,  if  he  was  guilty  of  any  crime,  he  was 
never  questioned  for  it;  he  had  the  earth,  he  dwelt 
in  it:  if  he  brought  an  action  ever  so  unjustly,  or  if 
an  action  were  ever  so  justly  brought  against  him, 
yet  he  was  sure  to  carry  his  cause  in  thy  courts. 
The  poor  were  not  fed  at  thv  door,  while  the  rich 
were  feasting  at  thy  table.''  Contrary  to  this  is 
Christ's  rule  for  hospitality;  (Luke  xiv.  12.. U.) 
and  Solomon  s.iys.  He  that  gives  to  the  rich  shall 
come  to  poverty. 

2.   He  attributes  all  his  present  troubles  to  these 
supposed  sins;  (i'.  10,  11.)    "Those  th  it  are  guilty 
of  such  pnictices  as  these,  commonly  tiring  them 
iclvcs  into  just  su£h  a  condition  as  thou  art  now  in; 


and  therefore  we  conclude  thou  hast  been  thus 
guilty."  (1.)  "It  is  the  manner  of  God  to  cross 
and  embarrass  such;  and  snares  are,  accordingly, 
round  about  thee,  so  that,  which  way  soever  thou 
steppest  or  lookest,  thou  findest  thyself  in  distress; 
and  others  are  as  hard  upon  thee  as  thou  hast  been 
upon  the  poor."  (2.)  "  Their  own  consciences  ma) 
be  expected  to  terrify  and  accuse  them:  no  sin 
makes  a  louder  cry  there  than  unmercifulness:  and, 
accordingly,  suddenfear  troubles  thee;  and,  though 
thou  wilt  not  own  it,  it  is  guilt  of  this  kind  that 
creates  thee  all  this  terjjor. "  Zophar  had  insinuated 
this,  ch.  XX.  19,20.  (3.)  "They  are  brought  to 
their  wits'  end,  so  amazed  and  bewildered,  th;it 
they  know  not  what  to  do,  and  that  also  is  thy  case; 
for  thou  art  in  darkness,  that  thou  canst  not  see 
wherefoie  God  contends  with  thee,  nor  what  is  the 
best  course  for  thee  to  take;  for  abundance  of  -wa- 
ters cover  thee,"  that  is,  "thou  art  in  a  mist,  in  the 
midst  of  dark  waters,  in  the  thick  clouds  of  the 
sky."  Note,  Those  that  have  not  showed  mercy 
may  justly  be  denied  the  comfortable  hope  that  they 
shall  find  mercy;  and  then  what  can  they  expect 
but  snares,  and  darkness,  and  continual  fear? 

n.  He  charges  him  with  atheism,  infidelity,  and 
gross  impiety;  and  thought  this  was  at  the  bottom 
of  his  injustice  and  oppressiveness:  he  that  did  not 
fear  God  did  not  regard  man.  He  would  have  it 
thought  that  Job  was  an  Epicurean,  who  did  indeed 
own  the  being  of  God,  but  denied  his  providence, 
and  fancied  that  he  confined  himself  to  the  enter- 
tainments of  the  upper  world,  and  never  concerned 
himself  in  the  inhabitants  and  atfairs  of  this. 

1.  Eliphaz  observes  a  good  truth,  which,  he 
thought,  if  Job  would  duly  consider,  he  would  not 
be  so  passionate  in  his  complaints,  nor  so  bold  in 
justifying  himself;  (v.  12.)  Is  not  God  in  the  height 
of  heaven?  Yes,  no  doubt  he  is:  no  heaven  so  high 
but  God  is  there;  and  in  the  highest  heavens,  the 
heavens  of  the  blessed,  the  residence  of  his  glory, 
he  is,  in  a  special  manner;  there  he  is  pleased  to 
manifest  himself  in  a  way  peculiar  to  the  upper 
world,  and  thence  he  is  pleased  to  manifest  himself 
in  a  way  suited  to  this  lower  world.  There  is  his 
throne;  there  is  his  court:  he  is  called  the  Heavens, 
Dan.  iv.  26.  Thus  Eliphaz  proves  that  a  man  can- 
not be  profitable  to  God,  {v.  2. )  that  he  ought  not 
to  contend  with  God;  (it  is  his  folly  if  he  does;)  and 
that  we  ought  always  to  address  ourseh  es  to  God 
with  veiy  great  reverence;  for  when  we  behold  the 
height  of  the  stars,  how  high  they  are,  we  might, 
at  the  same  time,  also  consider  the  transcendent 
majesty  of  God,  who  is  above  the  stars,  and  how 
high  he  is. 

2.  He  charges  it  upon  Job,  that  he  made  a  bad 
use  of  this  doctrine,  which  he  might  have  made  so 
good  a  use  of;  {y.  13.)  "Th\s'\s,  holding  the  truth 
in  unrighteousness,  fighting  against  religion  with  its 
own  weapons,  and  turning  its  own  artillery  upon 
itself:  Thou  art  willing  to  own  that  God  is  in  the 
height  of  heaven,  but  thence  thou'  inferrest,  Hoio 
doth  God  know?"  Bad  men  expel  the  fear  of  God 
out  of  their  hearts,  by  banishing  the  eye  of  God 
out  of  the  world;  (Ezek.  viii.  12.)  and  care  n't 
what  they  do,  if  they  can  but  persuade  themselves 
that  God  does  not  know.  Eliphaz  suspects  that 
Job  had  such  a  notion  of  God  as  this,  that,  because 
he  is  in  the  height  of  heaven,  (1.)  It  is  therefore 
impossible  for  him  to  see  and  hear  what  is  done  at  so 
great  a  distance  as  this  earth:  especially  since  there 
is  a  dark  cloud,  (y.  13.)  many  thick  clouds,  (v.  14.) 
that  come  between  him  and  us,  and  are  a  covering  to 
him,  so  that  he  cannot  see,  much  less  can  he  judge  of, 
the  affairs  of  this  lower  world;  as  if  God  had  eyes  of 
flfsh,  ch.  X.  4.  The  interposing  firmament  is  to  him 
as  transparent  crvstal,  Ezek.  i.  22.     Distance  ot 

I  place  createsnodifficultvtohim  who  is  immense,  anv 


JOB,  XXII. 


10? 


more  t'jan  distance  of  time  to  him  who  is  eternal. 
Or,  (2.)  That  it  is  therefore  below  him,  and  a  di- 
minution to  his  glory,  to  take  cognizance  of  this  in- 
ferior part  of  the  creation:  he  walks  in  the  circuit 
of  heaven,  and  has  enough  to  do,  to  enjoy  himself 
and  his  own  perfections  and  glory,  in  that  bright 
and  quiet  world;  why  should  he  trouble  himself 
about  us?  This  is  gross  absurdity,  as  well  as  gross 
'.oipiety,  which  Eliphaz  here  fathers  upon  Job;  for 
it  supposes  that  the  administration  of  government 
is  a  burthen  and  disparagement  to  the  Supreme 
Governor;  and  the  acts  of  justice  and  mercy  were 
a  toil  to  a  mind  infinitely  wise,  holy,  and  good.  If 
the  sun,  a  creature,  and  inanimate,  can  with  his 
light  and  influence  reach  this  earth,  and  every  part 
of  it,  (Ps.  xix.  6.)  even  from  that  vast  height  of  the 
visible  heavens  in  which  he  is,  and  in  the  circuit  of 
which  he  walks,  and  through  many  a  thick  and 
dark  cloud,  shall  we  question  it  concerning  the 
Creator? 

1 5.  Hast  thou  marked  the  old  way  which 
wicked  men  have  trodden ;  16.  Which  were 
cut  down  out  of  time,  whose  foundation 
was  overflown  with  a  flood;  17.  Which 
said  unto  God,  Depart  from  us:  and  what 
can  the  Ahuighty  do  for  them?  18.  Yet 
he  filled  their  houses  with  good  things :  but 
the  counsel  of  the  wicked  is  far  from  me. 
19.  The  righteous  see  z7,  and  are  glad;  and 
the  innocent  laugh  them  to  scorn.  20. 
Whereas  our  substance  is  not  cut  down: 
but  the  remnant  of  them  the  fire  consumeth. 

Eliphaz,  having  endeavoured  to  convict  Job,  by 
setting  his  sins  (as  he  thought)  in  order  before  him, 
here  endeavours  to  awaken  him  to  a  sight  and  sense 
of  his  misery  and  danger,  by  reason  of  sin;  and  this 
he  does,  by  comparing  his  case  with  that  of  the 
sinners  of  the  old  world;  as  if  he  had  said,  "Thy 
condition  is  bad  now,  but,  unless  thou  repent,  it  will 
be  worse,  as  theirs  was;  theirs  ivho  were  overfloivn 
•with  a  Jloody  as  the  old  world,  (z;.  16.)  and  theirs 
the  remnant  of  whom  the  Jire  consumed,"  {v.  20.) 
namely  the  Sodomites,  who,  in  conip.irison  of  the 
old  world,  were  but  a  remnant.  And  these  two  in- 
stances of  the  wrath  of  God  against  sin  and  sinners, 
ai'C  more  than  once  put  together,  for  warning  to  a 
careless  world:  as  by  our  Saviour,  Luke  xvii.  26, 
&c.  and  the  apostle,  2  Pet.  ii.  5,  6.  Eliphaz  would 
have  Job  to  mark  the  old  way  which  wicked  men 
have  trodden,  {v.  15.)  and  see  what  came  of  it, 
what  the  end  of  their  way  was.  Note,  There  is 
an  old  way  which  wicked  men  have  trodden.  Reli- 
gion had  but  newly  entered,  when  sin  immediately 
followed  it:  but  though  it  is  an  old  way,  a  broad 
way,  a  tracked  way,  it  is  a  dangerous  way,  and  it 
leads  to  destruction;  and  it  is  good  for  us  to  mark 
it,  that  we  may  not  dare  to  walk  in  it. 

Eliphaz  here  puts  Job  in  mind  of  it,  perhaps  in 
opposition  to  what  he  had  said  of  the  prosperity  of 
the  wicked;  as  if  he  had  said,  "Thou  canst  find 
out  here  and  there  a  single  instance,  it  may  be,  of  a 
wicked  man  ending  his  days  in  peace;  but  what  is 
that  to  those  two  great  instances  of  the  final  perdi- 
tion oi  ungodly  men — the  drowning  of  the  whole 
world,  and  the  burning  of  Sodom?"  Destructions 
by  wholesale,  in  which  he  thinks  Job  may,  as  in  a 
glass,  see  his  own  face. 

Observe,  1.  The  ruin  of  those  sinners;  {v.  16.) 
They  were  cut  down  out  of  time;  that  is,  they  were 
cut  off  in  the  midst  of  their  days,  when,  as  man's 
time  then  went,  many  of  them  might,  in  the  course 
of  nature,  have  lived  some  hundreds  of  years  longer, 


which  made  their  immature  extirpation  the  more 
grievous.  They  were  cut  down  out  of  time,  to  be 
hurried  into  eternity.  And  their  foundation,  the 
earth  on  which  they  built  themselves,  and  all  their 
hopes,  was  overflown  with  a  food,  the  flood  which 
was  brought  in  ufion  the  world  of  the  ungodly^ 
2  Pet.  ii.  5.  Note,  Those  who  build"  upon  the  sand, 
choose  a  foundation  which  will  be  overflown,  when 
the  rains  descend,  and  the  floods  come;  (Matth.  vii. 
27. )  and  then  their  building  must  needs  fall,  and 
they  perish  in  the  ruins  of  it,  and  repent  of  their 
folly  when  it  is  too  late, 

2.  The  sin  of  those  sinners,  which  brought  that 
ruin;  (v.  17.)  They  said  unto  God,  Defiart  from 
us.  Job  had  spoken  of  some  who  said  so,  and  yet 
prospered,  ch.  xxi.  14,  But  these  did  not;  (says 
Eliphaz ;)  they  found,  to  their  costs,  what  it  was  to 
set  God  at  defiance.  Those  who  were  resolved  to 
lay  the  reins  on  the  neck  of  their  appetites  and  pas- 
sions, began  with  this;  they  said  unto  God,  Defiart; 
they  abandoned  all  religion,  hated  the  thoughts  of 
it,  and  desired  to  live  without  God  in  the  world; 
they  shunned  his  word,  and  silenced  conscience,  his 
deputy !  And  what  can  the  Almighty  do  for  them? 
Some  make  this  to  denote  the  justness  of  their 
punishment.  They  said  to  God,  Defiart  from  us; 
and  then  what  could  the  Almighty  do  with  them, 
but  cut  them  of?  Those  who  will  not  submit  to 
God's  golden  sceptre,  must  expect  to  be  broken  to 
pieces  with  his  iron  rod.  Others  make  it  to  denote 
the  injustice  of  their  sin;  But,  wAa;  hath  the  Al- 
mighty done  against  them?  What  iniquity  have 
they  found  in  him?  or.  Wherein  has  he  wearied 
them?  Mic.  vi,  3.  Jer.  ii.  5.  Others  make  it  to 
denote  the  reason  of  their  sin;  They  say  unto  God, 
Defiart,  asking  what  the  Almighty  can  do  to  them? 
"What  has  he  done  to  oblige  us?  What  can  he  do, 
in  a  way  of  wrath,  to  make  us  miserable,  or,  in  a 
way  of  favour,  to  make  us  happy?"  As  they  argue, 
(Zeph.  i,  12.)  The  Lord  will  not  do  good,  neither 
will  he  do  evil.  Eliphaz  shows  the  absurdity  of  this 
in  one  word,  and  that  is,  calling  God  The  Almighty; 
for,  if  he  be  so,  what  cannnt  he  do?  But  it  is  not 
strange  if  those  cast  off  all  .religion,  who  neither 
dread  God's  wrath,  nor  desire  his  favour, 

3.  The  aggravation  of  this  sin;  Yet  he  had  filled 
their  houses  with  good  things,  v.  18,  Both  those 
of  the  old  world,  and  those  of  Sodom,  had  great 
plenty  of  all  the  delights  of  sense;  for  they  ate,  they 
drank,  they  bought,  they  sold,  Isfc.  (Luke  xvii.  27.) 
so  that  they  had  no  reason  to  ask  what  the  Almighty 
could  do  for  them?  for  they  lived  upon  his  bounty; 
no  reason  to  bid  him  depart  from  them,  who  had 
been  so  kind  to  them.  Many  have  their  houses  full 
of  goods,  but  their  hearts'  empty  of  grace,  and 
thereby  are  marked  for  ruin. 

4.  The  protestation  which  Eliphaz  makes  against 
the  principles  and  practices  of  those  wicked  people; 
But  the  counsel  of  the  wicked  is  far  from  me.  Job 
had  said  so,  {ch.  xxi.  16.)  and  Eliphaz  will  not  be 
behind  with  him.  If  they  cannot  agree  in  their  own 
principles  concerning  God,  yet  they  agree  in  re- 
nouncing the  principles  of  those  that  live  without 
God  in  the  world.  Note,  Those  that  differ  from 
each  other  in  some  matters  of  religion,  and  are  en- 
gaged in  disputes  about  them,  yet  ought  unanimously 
and  vigorously  to  appear  against  atheism  and  irre- 
ligion,  and  to  take  great  care  that  their  disputes  do 
not  hinder  either  their  vigour  or  unanimity,  in  that 
common  cause  of  God,  that  righteous  cause. 

5.  The  pleasure  and  satisfaction  which  the  righ- 
teous shall  have  in  this.  (1.)  In  seeing  the  wicked 
destroyed,  v.  19.  They  shall  see  it,  that  is,  observe 
it,  and  take  notice  of  it;  (Hos.  xiv.  9.)  and  they 
shall  be  glad,  not  to  see  their  fellow-creatures 
miserable,  or  any  secular  turn  of  their  own  served, 
01'  point  gained,  but  to  see  God  glorified,  the  word 


108 


JOB,  XXII. 


of  (iod  fulfilled,  the  power  of  oppressors  broken, 
and  thereby  the  oppressed  relieved;  to  see  sin 
s  iH.i.ed,  atheists  and  infidels  confounded,  und  fair 
warning  given  to  all  others  to  shun  such  wicked 
courses.  Nay,  they  shall  laugh  them  to  scorn,  that 
is,  they  justly  might  do  it;  they  shall  do  it,  as  God 
does  it,  in  a  holy  manner,  Ps.  ii.  4.  Prov.  i.  26. 
They  shall  take  occasion  thence  to  expose  the  folly 
cf  sinners,  and  show  how  ridiculous  their  principles 
are,  though  they  call  themselves  wits.  Lo,  this  is 
the  man  that  made  not  God  his  strength,  and  see 
what  comes  of  it,  Ps.  lii.  7.  Some  understand  this 
of  i-ighteous  Noah  and  his  family,  who  beheld  the 
destruction  of  the  old  world,  and  rejoiced  in  it,  as 
he  had  grieved  for  their  impiety.  Lot,  who  saw  the 
ruin  of  Sodom,  had  the  same  reason  to  rdoice, 
2  Pet.  ii.  7,  8.  (2. )  In  seeing  themselves  distin- 
guished; {y.  20.)  "  Whereas  our  substance  is  not 
cut  down,  as  theirs  was,  and  as  thine  is,  we  con- 
tinue to  prosper,  which  is  a  sign  that  we  are  the 
favourites  of  Heaven,  and  in  the  right."  The  same 
rule  that  served  him  to  condejnn  Job  by,  served  him 
to  magnify  himself  and  his  companions  by.  His 
substance  is  cut  down,  therefore  he  is  a  wicked 
man;  ours  is  not,  therefore  we  are  righteous.  But 
it  is  a  deceitful  rule  to  judge  by;  for  none  knows 
love  or  hatred  by  all  that  is  before  him.  If  others 
be  consumed,  if  the  very  remnant  of  them  be  con- 
sumed, and  we  be  not,  instead  of  censuring  them, 
and  lifting  up  ourselves,  as  Eliphaz  does  here,  we 
ought  to  be  thankful  to  God,  and  take  it  for  a  warn- 
ing to  ourselves  to  prepare  for  the  like  calamities. 

21.  Acquaint  now  thyself  with  liim,  and 
be  at  peace :  thereby  good  shall  come  unto 
thee.  22.  Receive,  I  pray  thee,  the  law 
from  his  mouth,  and  lay  up  his  words  in 
thy  lieart.  23.  U  thoa  return  to  the  Al- 
mighty, thou  shalt  be  built  up,  thou  shalt 
put  away  iniquity  far  from  thy  tabernacles. 
24.  Then  shalt  thou  lay  up  gold  as  dust, 
and  the  gold  of  Ophir  as  the  stones  of  the 
brooks.  25.  Yea',  the  Almighty  shall  be 
lliy  defence,  and  thou  shalt  have  plenty  of 
silver.  26.  For  then  shalt  thou  have  thy 
delight  in  the  Almighty,  and  shalt  lift  up 
thy  face  unto  God.  27.  Thou  shalt  make 
thy  prayer  unto  him,  and  he  shall  hear  thee, 
and  thou  shalt  pay  thy  vows.  28.  Thou 
shalt  also  decree  a  thing,  and  it  shall  be 
established  unto  thee;  and  the  light  shall 
shine  upon  thy  ways.  29.  When  men  are 
cast  down,  then  thou  shalt  say.  There  is 
lifting  up;  and  he  shall  save  the  humble 
person.  30.  He  shall  deliver  the  island  of 
the  innocent;  and  it  is  delivered  by  the 
pureness  of  thy  hands. 

Methinks  I  can  almost,  forgive  Eliphaz  his  hard 
censures  of  Job,  which  we  had  in  the  beginning  of 
the  chapter,  though  they  were  very  unjust  and  un- 
kind, for  this  good  counsel  and  encouragement  which 
he  gives  him  in  these  verses  with  which  he  closes 
his  discourse,  and  than  which  nothing  could  be  bet- 
ter said,  or  more  to  the  purpose.  Though  he  thought 
him  a  bad  man,  yet  he  saw  reasons  to  have  hope 
concerning  him,  that,  for  all  this,  he  would  be  both 
pious  and  prosperous.  But  it  is  strange,  that  out  of 
the  same  mouth,  and  almost  in  the  same  breath, 
both  sweet  waters  and  bitter  should  proceed.  Good 
men,  though  they  may  perhaps  be  put  into  a  heat, 


yet  sometimes  will  talk  themselves  into  abetter 
temper,  and,  it  may  be,  sooner  than  another  could 
talk  them  into  it. 

Eliphaz  had  laid  before  Jub  the  miserable  condi- 
tion of  a  wicked  man,  that  he  might  frighten  him 
into  repentance.  Here,  on  the  other  hand,  he 
shows  him  the  happiness  which  those  may  be  sure 
of,  that  do  repent,  that  he  might  allure  and  encou- 
rage him  to  it.  Ministers  must  try  both  ways  in 
dealing  with  people,  nmst  speak  to  them  from 
mount  Sinai  by  the  terrors  ot  the  law,  and  from 
mount  Zion  by  the  comforts  of  the  gospel,  must  set 
before  them  both  life  and  death,  good  and  evil,  the 
blessing  and  the  curse.     Now  here  observe, 

I.  The  good  counsel  which  Eliphaz  gives  to  Job; 
and  good  ci  unsel  it  is  to  us  all,  though,  as  to  Job, 
it  was  built  upon  a  false  supposition  that  he  was  a 
wicked  man,  and  now  a  stranger  and  enemy  to  God. 

1.  Acquaint  now  thyself  with  God.  Acquiesce  in 
God;  so  some.  It  is  our  duty,  at  all  times,  espe- 
cially when  we  are  in  affliction,  to  accommodate 
ourselves  to,  and  quiet  ourselves  in,  all  the  disposals 
of  the  Divine  Providence.  Join  thyself  to  him;  so 
some;  Fall  in  with  his  interests,  and  act  no  longer 
in  opposition  to  him.  Our  translators  render  it  well; 
"  Acquaint  thyself  with  him;  be  not  such  a  stranger 
to  him  as  thou  hast  made  thyself  by  casting  off  the 
fear  of  him,  and  restraining  prayer  before  him." 
It  is  the  duty  and  interest  of  every  one  of  us,  to  ac- 
quaint ourselxes  with  God.  We  must  get  the 
knowledge  of  him,  fix  our  affections  on  him,  join 
ourselves  to  him  in  a  covenant  of  friendship,  and 
then  set  up,  and  keep  up,  a  constant  correspondence 
with  him  in  the  ways  he  has  appointed.  It  is  our 
honour,  that  we  are  made  capable  of  this  acquaint- 
ance; our  misery,  that  by  sin  we  have  lost  it;  our 
privilege,  that  through  Christ  we  are  invited  to  re- 
turn to  it;  and  it  will  be  our  unspeakable  happiness 
to  contract  and  cultivate  this  acquaintance. 

2.  '^  Be  at  fieace;  at  peace  with  thyself,  not  fret- 
ful, uneasy,  and  in  confusion;  let  not  thy  heart  be 
troubled,  but  be  quiet  and  calm,  and  well  composed. 
Be  at  peace  with  thy  God;  be  reconciled  to  him. 
Uo  not  carry  on  this  unholy  war.  Thou  complainest 
that  God  is  thine  Enemy;  be  thou  his  friend."  It  is 
the  great  concern  of  every  one  of  us  to  make  our 
peace  with  God,  and  it  is  necessary  in  order  to  our 
comfortable  acquaintance  with  him  ;  for  can  two 
walk  together,  excejit  they  be  agreed?  Amos  iii.  3. 
This  we  must  do  quickly;  now,  before  it  be  too  late. 
A^ree  with  thine  adversary,  while  thou  art  in  the 
way.  This  we  are  earnestly  urged  to  do.  Some 
read  it,  "Acquaint  thyself,  I  pray  thee,  with  him, 
and  be  at  peace."  God  himself  beseeches  us,  minis- 
ters in  Christ's  stead,  pray  us,  to  be  reconciled. 
Can  we  gainsiy  such  entreaties? 

3.  Receive  the  law  from  his  mouth;  {y.  22.)  "  Hav- 
ing made  thy  peace  with  God,  submit  to  his  govem- 
ment,  and  resolve  to  be  ruled  by  him,  that  thnu 
mayest  keep  thyself  in  his  love."  We  receive  our 
being  and  maintenance  from  God.  From  him  we 
hope  to  receiN  e  our  bliss,  and  from  him  we  must 
receive  law;  Lord,  what  wilt  thou  have  me  to  do? 
Acts  ix.  6.  Which  way  soever  we  receive  the  in- 
timations of  his  will,  we  must  have  our  eye  to  him; 
whether  he  speaks  by  scripture,  ministers,  con- 
science, or  providence,  we  must  take  the  word  as 
from  his  mouth,  and  bow  our  souls  to  it.  Thoup-h, 
in  Job's  time,  we  do  not  know  that  there  was  any 
written  word,  yet  there  was  a  revelation  of  God  s 
will  to  be  received.  Eliphaz  looked  upon  Job  as  a 
wicked  man;  and  was  pressing  him  to  repent  and 
reform.  Herein  consists  the  conversion  of  a  sinner 
— his  receiving  the  law  from  God's  mouth,  and  no 
longer  from  the  world  and  the  flesh.  Eliphaz,  be- 
ing now  in  contest  with  Job,  appeals  to  the  word  of 
God  for  the  ending  of  the  controversy;  Receive  that. 


JOB,  XXII. 


109 


and  be  determined  by  it.    To  the  law  and  to  the  tes- 
limony. 

4.  Lay  ufi  his  word  in  thine  heart.  It  is  not  enough 
to  receive  it,  but  we  must  retain  it,  Prov.  iii.  18. 
We  must  lay  it  up  as  a  thing  of  great  value,  that  it 
may  be  sate:  and  we  must  lay  it  up  in  our  hearts,  as 
a  thing  of  great  use,  that  it  may  be  ready  to  us  when 
there  is  occasion,  and  we  may  neither  lose  it  wholly, 
nor  be  at  a  loss  for  it  in  a  time  of  need. 

5.  Return  to  the  Almighty;  {v.  23.)  "Do  not  only 
turn  from  sin,  but  turn  to  God  and  thy  duty.  Do 
not  only  turn  toward  the  Almighty  in  some  good 
inclinations  and  good  beginnings,  but  return  to  him; 

eturn  home  to  him,  quite  to  him,  so  as  to  reach  to 
the  Almighty,  by  a  universal  reformation,  an  effec- 
tual thorough  change  of  thy  heart  and  life,  and  a 
tirm  resolution  to  cleave  to  him;"  so  Mr.  Poole. 

6.  Put  away  iniquity  far  from  thy  tabernacle. 
This  was  the  advice  Zophar  gave  him;  (cA.  xi.  14. ) 
"  Let  not  wickedness  dwell  in  thy  tabernacle.  Put 
iniquity  far  off,  the  farther  the  better,  not  only  from 
thy  heart  and  hand,  but  from  thy  house.  Thou 
must  not  only  not  be  wicked  thyself,  but  reprove  and 
restrain  sin  in  those  that  are  under  thy  charge. " 
Note,  Family  reformation  is  needful  reformation; 
we  and  our  house  must  serve  the  Lord. 

II.  The  good  encouragement  which  Eliphaz  gives 
Job,  that  he  should  be  very  happy,  if  he  would  but 
take  this  good  counsel.  In  general,  "  Thereby  good 
shall  come  unto  thee;  {v.  21.)  the  good  that  is  now 
departed  from  thee;  all  the  good  thy  heart  can  de- 
sire, temporal,  spiritual,  eternal,  good  shall  come 
to  thee.  God  shall  come  to  thee,  into  covenant  and 
communion  with  thee;  and  he  brings  all  good  with 
him,  all  good  in  him.  Thou  art  now  ruined  and 
brought  down,  but  if  thou  return  to  God,  thou  shalt 
be  built  ufi  again,  and  thy  present  ruins  shall  be  re- 
paired. Thy  family  shall  be  built  up  in  children, 
thy  estate  in  wealth,  and  thy  soul  in  holiness  and 
comfort. " 

The  promises  which  Eliphaz  here  encourages  Job 
with,  are  reducible  to  three  heads; 

1.  That  his  esm?e  should  prosper,  and  temporal 
l)lessings  should  be  bestowed  abundantly  upon  him; 
for  godliness  has  the  promise  of  the  life  that  now  is. 
It  is  promised, 

(1. )  That  he  shall  be  very  rich,  {v.  24.)  "  Thou 
shalt  lay  ufi  gold  as  dust,  in  such  great  abundance, 
and  shalt  have  plenty  of  silver;  {v.  25.)  whereas 
now  thou  art  poor  and  stripped  of  all. "  Job  had 
been  rich;  Eliphaz  suspected  he  got  his  riches  by 
fraud  and  oppression,  and  therefore  they  were  taken 
from  him;  but  if  he  would  return  to  God  and  duty, 
[1.]  He  should  have  more  wealth  than  ever  he  had; 
lot  only  thousands  of  sheep  and  oxen,  the  wealth 
of  farmers,  but  thousands  of  gold  and  silver,  the 
wealth  of  princes,  ch.  iii.  15.  Abundantly  more 
riches,  tnae  riches,  are  to  be  got  by  the  service  of 
Ciod  than  by  the  service  of  the  woi'ld.  [2.]  He 
should  have  it  more  sure  to  him;  Thou  shalt  lay  it 
iifi  in  good  hands,  and  hold  that  which  is  got  by  thy 
piety,  by  a  surer  tenure  than  that  which  thou  didst 
icet  by  thine  iniquity."  Thou  shalt  have  silver  of 
strength,  (for  so  the  word  is,)  which,  being  honestly 
got,  will  wear  well;  silver  like  steel.  [3.]  He 
should,  by  the  grace  of  God,  be  kept  from  setting 
his  heart  so  much  upon  it,  as  Eliphaz  thought  he 
had  done.  Then  wealth  is  a  blessing  indeed,  when 
we  are  not  insnared  with  the  love  of  it.  Thou  shalt 
lay  ufi  gold;  but  how?  Not  as  thy  treasure  and 
portion,  but  as  dust,  and  as  the  stones  of  the  brooks. 
So  little  shalt  thou  value  it  or  expect  from  it,  that 
thou  shalt  lay  it  at  thy  feet,  (Acts  iv.  35. )  not  m  thy 
bosom. 

(2.)  That  yet  he  shall  be  very  safe;  whereas 
men's  riches  usually  expose  them  to  danger,  and  he 
liad  owned  that  in  his  prosperity  he  was  not  in  safe- 


ty, {ch.  iii.  26.)  now  he  might  be  secure;  for  thr 
Almighty  shall  be  thy  Defender;  nay,  he  shall  be 
thy  Defence,  v.  25.  He  shall  be  thy  gold;  so  it  .s 
in  the  margin,  and  it  is  the  same  word  that  is  used 
{v.  24. )  for  gold,  but  it  signifies  also  a  strong  hold, 
because  money  is  a  defence,  Eccl.  vii.  12.  World- 
lings make  gold  their  god,  saints  make  God  their 
gold;  and  they  that  are  enriched  with  his  favour 
and  grace,  may  truly  be  said  to  have  abundance  of 
the  best  gold,  and  best  laid  up.  We  understand  it, 
"  He  shall  be  thy  Defence  against  the  incursions  of 
neighbouring  spoilers:  thy  wealth  shall  not  then  lie 
exposed  as  it  did  to  Sabeans  and  Chaldeans;"  which, 
some  think,  is  the  meaning  of  that.  Thou  shalt  put 
away  iniquity  far  from  thy  tabernacle;  taking  it  as 
a  promise.  "1  he  iniquity  or  wrong  designed  against 
thee  shall  be  put  off,  and  shall  not  reach  thee." 
Note,  Those  must  needs  be  safe,  that  have  Omnipo- 
tence itself  for  their  defence,  Ps.  xci.  l-«3. 

2.  That  his  sow/  should  prosper,  and  he  should  be 
enriched  with  spiritual  blessings,  wkich  are  the  best 
blessings. 

(1.)  That  he  should  live  a  life  of  complacency  in 
God;  {v.  26.)  ''For  then  shalt  thou  have  thy  de- 
light in  the  Almighty;  and  thus  the  Almighty  comes 
to  be  thy  gold,  by  thy  delighting  in  him,  as  worldly 
people  delight  in  their  money.  He  shall  be  thy 
Wealth,  thy  Defence,  thy  Dignity;  for  he  shall  be 
thy  Delight."  The  way  to  have  our  heart's  desire, 
is  to  make  God  our  heart's  Delight,  Ps.  xxxvii.  4. 
If  God  give  us  himself  to  be  our  Joy,  he  will  deny 
us  nothing  that  is  good  for  us.  "Now,  God  is  a 
Terror  to  thee,  he  is  so,  by  thine  own  confession; 
{ch.  vi.  4. — xvi.  9. — xix.  11.)  but  if  thou  wilt  retum 
to  him,  then,  not  tUl  then,  he  will  be  thy  Delight; 
and  it  shall  be  as  much  a  pleasure  to  thee  to  think 
of  him,  as  ever  it  was  a  pain."  No  delight  is  com- 
parable to  the  delight  which  gracious  souls  have  in 
the  Almighty;  and  those  that  acquaint  themselves 
with  him,  and  submit  themselves  entirely  to  him, 
shall  find  his  favour  to  be,  not  only  their  strength, 
but  their  song. 

(2.)  That  he  should  have  a  humble,  holy,  confi- 
dence toward  God;  such  as  they  are  said  to  have, 
whose  hearts  condemn  them  not;  1  John  iii.  21. 
"  Then  shalt  thou  lift  up  thy  face  to  God  with  bold- 
ness, and  not  be  afraid,  as  thou  now  art,  to  draw 
near  to  him.  Thy  countenance  is  now  fallen,  and 
thou  lookest  dejected;  but  when  thou  hast  made  thy 
peace  with  God,  thou  shalt  blush  no  more,  tremble 
no  more,  and  hang  thy  head  no  more,  as  thou  dost 
now,  but  shalt  cheerfully,  and  with  a  gracious  as- 
surance, show  thyself  to  him,  pray  before  him,  and 
expect  blessings  from  him." 

(3.)  That  he  should  maintain  a  constant  commu- 
nion with  God;  "The  correspondence,  once  settled, 
shall  be  kept  up  to  thine  unspeakable  satisfaction. 
Letters  shall  be  both  statedly  and  occasionally  in- 
terchanged between  thee  and  Heaven,"  v.  27.  [1. ] 
"  Thou  shalt  by  prayer  send  letters  to  God;  Thou 
shalt  make  thy  prayer"  (the  word  is.  Thou  shalt 
multiply  thy  prayers)  "imto  him,  and  he  will  not 
think  thy  letters  troublesome,  though  many  and 
long.  The  oftener  we  come  to  the  throne  of  grace, 
the  more  welcome.  Under  all  thy  burthens,  in  all 
thy  wants,  cares,  and  fears,  thou  shalt  send  to  hea- 
ven for  guidance  and  strength,  wisdom,  comfort, 
and  good  success."  [2.]  "  He  shall,  by  his  provi- 
dence and  grace,  answer  those  letters,  and  give  thee 
what  thou  askest  of  him,  either  in  kind  or  kindness; 
he  shall  hear  thee,  and  make  it  to  appear  he  does 
so,  by  what  he  does  for  thee  and  in  thee."  [3.] 
"  Then  thou  shalt  by  thy  praises  reply  to  the  gra- 
cious answers  which  he  sent  thee:  thou  shalt  pay 
thy  vows,  and  that  shall  be  acceptable  to  him,  and 
fetch  in  further  mercy."  Note,  When  God  per- 
forms that  which  in  our  distress  we  prayed  foi-,  wf 


110 


30B,  XXIII. 


mubt  make  conscience  of  performing  that  which  we 
liien  pronused,  else  we  do  not  deal  honestly.  If 
we  promised  notiiing  else,  we  promised  to  be 
thankful,  and  that  is  enough,  for  it  includes  all,  Ps. 
cxvi.  14. 

(4.)  That  he  should  have  inward  satisfaction  in 
the  management  of  all  his  outward  affairs;  {v.  28.) 
IViou  s/ialt  decree  a  thing,  and  it  shall  be  established 
unto  thee,^'  that  is,  "Thou  shalt  frame  all  thy  pro- 
jects and  purposes  with  so  much  wisdom  and  grace, 
and  resignation  to  the  will  of  God,  that  the  issue  of 
them  shall  be  to  thy  heart's  content,  just  as  thou 
wouldest  have  it  to  be.  Thou  shalt  commit  thy  works 
unto  the  Lord  by  faith  and  prayer,  and  then  thy 
thoughts  shall  be  established;  thou  shalt  be  easy  and 
pleased,  whatsoever  occurs,  Prov.  xvi.  3.  This  the 
grace  of  God  shall  work  in  thee;  nay,  sometimes 
the  providence  of  God  shall  give  thee  the  very 
thing  thou  didst  desire  and  pray  for,  and  give  it 
thee  in  thine  own  way,  and  manner,  and  time;  be  it 
unto  thee,  even  as  thou  wilt,"  When,  at  any  time, 
an  affair  succeeds  Just  according  to  the  scheme  we 
laid,  and  our  measures  are  in  nothing  broken,,  nor 
are  we  put  upon  new  counsels,  then  we  must  ewn 
the  performance  of  this  promise,  7'hou  shalt  de- 
cree a  thing,  and  it  shall  be  established  unto  thee. 
"  Whereas  now  thou  complainest  of  darkness  round 
about  thee,  then  the  light  shall  shine  on  thy  ways;" 
that  is,  '•  God  shall  guide  and  direct  thee,  and  then 
it  will  follow,  of  course,  that  he  shall  prosper  and 
succeed  thee  in  all  thine  undertakings.  God's  wis- 
dom shall  be  thy  guide,  his fa\our  thy  comfort,  and 
th)-  ways  shall  be  so  under  both  those  lights,  that 
thou  shalt  liave  a  comfortable  enjoyment  of  what  is 
present,  and  a  comfortable  prospect  of  what  is  fu- 
ture," Ps.  xc.  17. 

(5. )  I'hat,  e\  en  in  times  of  common  calamity  and 
danger,  he  should  have  abundance  of  joy  and  hope; 
(t.  29.)  "  When  men  are  cast  down  round  about 
thee,  cast  down  in  their  affairs,  cast  down  in  their 
spirits,  sinking,  desponding,  and  ready  to  despair, 
then  shalt  thou  say,  There  is  lifting  2ifi.  Thou  shalt 
find  that  in  thyself,  which  will  not  only  bear  thee 
u])  under  thy  ti"oul)les,  and  keep  thee  from  fainting, 
!)ut  lift  thee  up  abox'e  thy  troubles,  and  enable  thee 
to  rejoice  ^\ermore.  When  men's  hearts  fail  them 
for  /^nr,  then  shall  Christ's  disciples  lift  ufi  their 
heads  for  joy,  Luke  xxi.  26.. 28.  Thus  are  they 
made  to  ride  ufion  the  high  filaces  of  the  earth; 
(Isa.  Iviii.  14.)  and  that  which  will  lift  them  up,  is, 
the  belief  of  this,  that  God  will  save  the  humble 
]Hrson.  Thcv  that  humble  themselves  shall  be  ex- 
i.ltecl,  not  only  in  honour,  but  in  comfort. 

3.  That  he  should  be  a  blessing  to  his  country, 
rnid  nn  instrument  of  good  to  many;  {v.  30.)  God 
shall,  in  answer  to  thv  prayers,  deliver  the  island 
of  the  innoce?2t,  and  have  a  regard  therein  to  the 
yiureness  of  thy  hands,  which  is  necessary  to  the 
acce])tableness  of  our  prayers,  1  Tim.  ii.  8.  But, 
l)ccause  we  may  suppose  the  innocent  not  to  need 
deliverance,  (it  was  guilty  Sodom  that  wanted  the 
benefit  of  Abraham's  intercession,)  I  incline  to  the 
marginal  reading.  The  innocent  shall  deliver  the 
island,  by  their  advice,  (Eccl.  ix.  14,  15.)  and  by 
iheir  prayers,  and  their  interest  in  hea\en.  Acts 
xxvii.  24.  Or,  He  shall  deliver  (hose  that  are  not  in- 
nocent, and  they  are  delivered  by  the  /iureness  of 
thy  hands;  so  it  may  be  read,  and  most  probably. 
Note,  h  good  man  is  a  public  good.  Sinners  fare 
the  better  for  saints,  whether  they  are  aware  of  it 
or  no.  If  Eliphaz  intended  hereby,  (as  some  think 
he  did,)  to  insinuate  that  Job's  prayers  were  not 
prevailing,  nor  his  hands  pure,  (for  then  he  would 
h-ive  relieved  others,  much  more  himself,)  he  was 
.Tftcrward  made  to  sec  his  error,  when  it  api)earcd 
ui  it  .Tdb  had  a  better  interest  in  heaven  than  he 
nad;  f(,r  he  and  his  three  friends,  whOj-in  this  mat- 


ter, were  not  innocent,  were  deVnered  by  the  fiure 
ness  of  Job's  hands,  ch.  xlii.  8. 

CHAP.  XXIII. 

This  chapter  begins  Job's  reply  to  Eliphaz;  in  this  reply 
he  lakes  no  notice  of  his  friends;  either  because  he  saw 
it  was  to  no  purpose,  or  because  he  liked  the  ffood  coun- 
sel Eliphaz  jrave  him  in  the  close  of  his  discourse  so  well, 
that  he  would  make  no  answer  to  the  peevish  reflections 
he  began  with;  but  he  appeals  to  God;  begs  to  have  his 
cause  heard,  and  doubts  not  but  to  make  it  good,  having 
the  testimony  of  his  own  conscience  concerning  his  in- 
tegrity. Here  seems  to  be  a  struggle  between  flesh  and 
spirit,  fear  and  faith,  throughout  this  chapter.  I.  He 
complains  of  his  calamitous  condition,  and  especially  of 
God's  withdrawincrs  from  him,  so  that  he  could  not  get 
his  appeal  heard,  (v.  2. .  5.)  nor  discern  the  meaning  of 
God's  dealings  with  him,  (v.  8,  9.)  nor  gain  any  hope  of 
relief,  v.  13,  14.  This  made  deep  impressions  of  trouble 
and  terror  upon  him,  v.  15..  17.  But,  H.  In  the  midst 
of  these  complaints,  he  comforts  himself  with  the  as- 
surance of  God's  clemency,  (v.  6,  7.)  and  his  own  inte- 
grity, which  God  himself  was  a  Witness  to,  v.  10  . .  12. 
Thus  was  the  light  of  his  day  like  that  spoken  of,  (Zech. 
xiv.  6,  7. )  neither  perfectly  clear  nor  perfectly  dark,  hut 
at  evening  time  it  tvas  light 

1 .  nr^HEN  Job  answered  and  said,  2. 
JL  Even  to-day  is  my  complaint  hitter : 
my  stroke  is  lieavier  than  my  groaning.  3. 
Oh  that  I  knew  where  I  miglit  find  him  ! 
that  I  might  come  eveji  to  his  seat !  4.  I 
would  order  m?/  cause  before  him,  and  fill 
my  mouth  with  arguments.  5.  I  would 
know  the  words  ir/iich  he  would  answer  me, 
and  understand  what  he  would  say  unto  me. 
G.  Will  he  plead  against  me  with  his  great 
power?  no;  but  he  would  put  strength  in 
me.  7.  There  the  righteous  might  dispute 
with  him ;  so  should  I  be  delivered  for  ever 
from  my  judge. 

Job  is  confident  that  he  has  wrong  done  him  by 
his  friends,  and  therefore,  ill  as  he  is,  he  will  not 
give  up  the  cause,  nor  let  them  have  the  last  word. 
Here, 

I.  He  justifies  his  own  resentments  and  repre- 
sentations of  his  trouble;  (t.  2.)  Even  to-day,  I 
own,  my  complaint  is  bitter;  for  the  affliction,  the 
cause  of  the  complaint,  is  so.  There  are  worm- 
wood and  gall  in  the  affliction  and  misery,  my  soul 
has  them  still  in  remembrance,  and  is  imbittered  by 
them.  Lam.  iii.  19,  20.  Even  to-day  is  my  com- 
plaint counted  rebellion;  so  some  read  it;  his  friends 
construed  the  innocent  expressions  of  his  grief  into 
reflections  upon  God  and  his  providence,  and  called 
them  rebellion.  "But,"  says  he,  "I  do  not  com- 
plain more  than  there  is  cause,  for  my  stroke  w 
heavier  than  my  groaning.  Even  to-day,  after  all 
you  have  said  to  convince  and  comfort  me,  still  the 
pains  of  my  body,  and  the  wounds  of  my  spirit,  are 
such,  that  I  have  reason  enough  for  my  complaints, 
if  they  were  more  bitter  than  they  are. "  We  wrong 
God,  if  our  groaning  be  heavier  than  our  stroke; 
like  froward  children,  who,  when  they  cry  for  no- 
thing, have  justly  something  given  them  to  cry  for; 
but  we  do  not  wrong  ourselves,  though  our  stroke 
he  heavier  than  our  groaning,  for  little  said  is  soon 
amended. 

II.  He  apperds  from  the  censures  of  his  friends  to 
the  just  judgment  of  God;  and  this  he  thought  was 
an  evidence  for  him  that  he  was  not  a  hypocrite, 
for  tluMi  he  durst  not  have  made  such  an  appeal  as 
this.  St.  Paul  comforts  himself  in  this,  that  he  that 
judged  liim  was  the  Lord,  and  therefore  he  valued 
not  man's  judgment,  (1  Cor.  iv.  3   /•-  ".  hut  he  was 


JOB,  XXI]  1. 


Ill 


willing  to  wait  till  the  rippointed  day  of  decision 
comes;  whereas  Job  is  impatient,  and  passionately 
wishes  to  have  the  judgment-day  anticipated,  and 
to  have  his  cause  tried  quickly,  as  it  were,  by  a 
special  commission.  The  apostle  found  it  necessa- 
ry to  press  it  much  upon  suffering  Christians  pa- 
tiently topxpect  the  Judge's  coming,  James  v.  7-  -9. 

1.  He  is  so  sure  of  the  equity  of  God's  tribunal, 
that  he  longs  to  appear  before  it;  (v.  3.)  Oh  that  I 
knew  where  I  might  find  him!  This  may  properly 
express  the  pious  breathings  of  a  soul  convinced 
that  it  has,  by  sin,  lost  God,  and  is  undone  for  ever 
if  it  recover  not  its  interest  in  his  favour.  *'  Oli 
that  I  knew  how  I  might  recover  his  favour!  How 
I  might  come  into  covenant  and  communion  with 
him!"  Mic.  vi.  6,  7.  It  is  the  cry  of  a  poor  desert- 
ed soul,  "  Saw  ye  him  whom  my  soul  loveth?  Oh 
that  I  knew  where  I  might  find  him!  Oh  that  he 
who  has  laid  open  the  way  to  him,  would  direct  me 
into  it,  and  lead  me  in  it!"  But  Job  here  seems  to 
speak  it  too  boldly,  that  his  friends  wronged  him, 
and  he  knew  not  which  way  to  apply  himself  to 
God,  to  have  justice  done  him,  else  he  would  go 
even  to  his  seat,  to  demand  it.  A  patient  waiting 
for  death  and  judgment  is  our  wisdom  and  duty; 
and,  if  we  duly  consider  things,  that  cannot  be  with- 
out a  holy  fear  and  trembling;  but  a  passionate 
wishing  for  death  or  judgment,  without  any  such 
fear  and  trembling,  is  our  sin  and  folly,  and  ill  be- 
comes us.  Do  we  know  what  death  and  judgment 
are,  and  are  we  so  very  ready  for  them,  that  we 
need  not  time  to  get  readier?  Woe  to  them  that,  thus 
in  a  heat,  denire  the  day  of  the  Lord,  Amos  v.  18. 

2.  He  is  so  sure  of  the  goodness  of  his  own  cause, 
that  he  longs  to  be  opening  it  at  God's  bar,  {v.  4. ) 
"  /  would  order  7ny  cause  before  him,  and  set  it  in 
a  true  light;  I  would  produce  the  evidences  of  my 
sincerity  in  a  proper  method,  and  would  fill  my 
mouth  with  arguments  to  prove  it."  We  may  ap- 
ply this  to  the  duty  of  prayer,  in  which  we  have 
boldness  to  enter  into  the  holiest,  and  to  come  even 
to  the  footstool  of  the  throne  of  grace.  We  have 
not  only  liberty  of  access,  but  liberty  of  speech. 
We  have  leave,  (1.)  To  be  particular  in  our  re- 
quests, to  order  our  cause  before  God,  to  speak  the 
whole  matter,  to  lay  before  him  all  our  grievances, 
in  what  method  we  think  most  proper;  we  durst 
not  be  so  free  with  earthly  princes,  as  an  humble 
holy  soul  may  be  with  God.  (2. )  To  be  importu- 
nate in  our  requests.  We  are  allowed,  not  only  to 
pray,  but  to  plead;  not  only  to  ask,  but  to  argue; 
nay,  to  fill  our  mouths  with  arguments:  not  to  move 
God,  (he  is  perfectly  apprized  of  the  merits  of  the 
cause  without  our  showing,)  but  to  move  ourselves, 
to  excite  our  fervency,  and  encourage  our  faith,  in 
prayer. 

3.  He  is  so  sure  of  a  sentence  in  favour  of  him, 
that  he  even  longed  to  hear  it;  (x;.  5.)  "/  would 
know  the  words  which  he  would  answer  me,"  that 
is,  "I  would  gladly  hear  what  God  will  say  to  this 
matter  in  dispute  between  you  and  me;  and  will 
entirely  acquiesce  in  his  judgment."  This  becomes 
us,  in  all  controversies;  let  the  word  of  God  deter- 
mine them;  let  us  know  what  he  answers,  and  un- 
derstand what  he  says.  Job  knew  well  enough  what 
his  friends  would  answer  him;  they  would  condemn 
him,  and  run  him  down;  "But,"  (says  he,)  "/ 
would  fain  know  what  God  would  answer  me;  for 
I  am  sure  his  judgment  is  according  to  truth,  which 
theirs  is  not.  I  cannot  understand  them,  they  talk 
so  little  to  the  purpose;  but  what  he  says  I  should 
understand,  and  therefore  be  fully  satisfied  in." 

in.  He  comforts  himself  with  the  hope  that  God 
would  deal  favourably  with  him  in  this  matter,  v. 
f,  7.  Note,  It  is  of  great  use  to  us,  in  every  thing 
wherein  we  have  to  do  with  God,  to  keep  up  good 
thoughts  of  him.     He  believes, 


1.  That  God  would  not  ovei-power  him;  that  he 
would  not  deal  with  him  either  by  absolute  sove- 
reignty, or  in  strict  justice;  not  with  a  high  hand, 
not  with  a  strong  hand:  TVill  he  filead  against  me 
with  his  great  flower?  No,  Job's  friends  pleaded 
against  him  with  all  the  power  they  had;  but  will 
God  do  so.>  No,  his  power  is  all  just  and  holy, 
whatever  men's  is:  against  those  that  are  obstinate 
in  their  unbelief  and  impenitency,  God  will  filead 
with  his  great  fiower,  their  desti'uction  will  come 
from  the  glory  of  his  fiower ;  but  with  his  own  peo- 
ple, that  love  him  and  trust  in  him,  he  will  deal  in 
tender  compassion. 

2.  That,  on  the  contrary,  he  would  empower  him 
to  plead  his  own  cause  before  God;  "  He  would  fiut 
strength  in  me,  to  support  me  and  bear  me  up,  in 
maintaining  mine  integrity."  Note,  The  same  pow- 
er that  is  engaged  against  proud  sinners,  is  engaged 
for  humble  saints,  who  prevail  with  God  by  streng:th 
derived  from  him,  as  Jacob  did,  Hos.  xii.  3.  See  Ps. 
Ixviii.  35. 

3.  That  the  issue  would  certainly  be  comfortable; 
(xK  7.)  There,  in  the  court  of  heaven,  when  the 
final  sentence  is  to  be  given,  the  righteous  might 
disfiute  with  him,  and  come  off  in  his  righteousness. 
Now,  even  the  upright  are  often  chastened  of  the 
Lord,  and  they  cannot  dispute  against  it;  integrity 
itself  is  no  fence  either  against  calamity  or  calumny; 
but  in  that  day,  thev  shall  not  be  condemned  with 
the  world,  though  God  may  afflict  by  prerogative. 
Then  you  shall  discern  between  the  righteous  and 
the  wicked,  Mai.  iii.  18.  So  vast  will  be  the  dif- 
ference between  them  in  their  everlasting  state; 
whereas  now  we  can  scarcely  distinguish  tnem,  so 
little  is  the  difference  between  them  as  to  their  out- 
ward condition,  for  all  things  come  alike  to  all. 
Then,  when  the  final  doom  is  given,  "  /  shall  be 
delivered  for  ever  from  my  Judge,"  that  is,  "  I  shall 
be  saved  from  the  unjust  censures  of  my  friends, 
and  from  that  divine  sentence  which  is  now  so  much 
a  terror  to  me."  Those  that  are  delivered  up  to 
God  as  their  Owner  and  Ruler  shall  be  for  ever  de- 
livered from  him  as  their  Judge  and  Avenger:  and 
there  is  no  flying  from  his  justice,  but  by  flying  to 
his  mercy. 

8.  Behold,  T  go  forward,  but  he  is  not 
there;  and  backward,  but  I  cannot  perceive 
him  :  9.  On  the  left  hand,  where  he  doth 
work,  but  I  cannot  behold  him  :  he  hideth 
himself  on  the  right  hand,  that  I  cannot  see 
him  :  10.  But  he  knoweth  the  way  that  I 
take :  7vhen  he  hath  tried  me,  I  shall  come 
forth  as  gold.  1 1 .  My  foot  hath  held  his 
steps :  his  way  have  I  kept,  and  not  declin- 
ed. 1 2.  Neither  have  I  gone  back  from  the 
commandment  of  his  lips  ;  I  have  esteemed 
the  words  of  his  mouth  more  than  my  ne- 
cessRry  food. 

Here, 

I.  Job  complains  that  he  cannot  understand  the 
meaning  of  God's  providences  concerning  him,  but 
was  quite  at  a  loss  about  them;  (v.  8,  9.)  I  go  for- 
ward, but  he  is  not  there,  &c.  Eliphaz  had  bid 
him  acquaint  himself  with  God;  "  So  I  would,  with 
all  my  heart,"  says  Job,  "  if  I  knew  how  to  get  ac- 
quainted with  him."  He  had  himself  a  great  dcsii  e 
to  appear  before  God,  and  get  a  hearing  of  his  case, 
but  the  Judge  was  not  to  be  found;  look  which  way 
he  would,  he  could  see  no  sign  of  God's  appearing 
for  him  to  clear  up  his  innocency.  Job,  no  douln, 
believed  that  God  is  everywhere  present;  but  three 


112 


JOB,  XXIII. 


things  he  seems  to  complain  of  here,  1.  That  he 
could  not  fix  his  thoughts,  nor  form  any  clear  judg- 
ment of  things  in  his  own  mind:  his  mind  was  so 
hurried  and  discomposed  with  his  troubles,  that  he 
was  like  a  man  in  a  fright,  or  at  his  wit's  end,  who 
i"uns  this  way,  and  that  way,  but,  being  in  confusion, 
brings  nothing  to  a  head.  By  reason  of  the  disor- 
der and  tumult  his  spirit  was  in,  he  could  not  fasten 
upon  that  which  he  knew  to  be  in  God,  and  which, 
if  he  could  but  have  mixed  faith  with  it,  and  dwelt 
upon  it  in  his  thoughts,  would  have  been  a  support 
to  him.  It  is  the  common  complaint  of  those  who